New Research Reveals Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acid in Bipolar Mice

People suffering from bipolar may have scientific evidence of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. A new study, conducted by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, revealed that omega 3 fatty acid provided significantly improved behavior in mice models of bipolar. DHA, a main component in fish oil, regulated the moods and behavior of the mice. According to Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and the lead author of the study, “The mice that were given DHA normalized their behavior, they are not depressed and when subjected to stress, they do not become manic. When we looked into their brains, using comprehensive gene expression studies, we were surprised to see that genes that are known targets of psychiatric medications were modulated and normalized by DHA.”

The researchers also discovered that the mice who received the DHA had a decreased craving for alcohol. “These bipolar mice, like some bipolar patients, love alcohol. The mice on DHA drank much less; it curtailed their alcohol abusive behavior,” said Niculescu. He noted that this finding was accidental. To validate this result, the researchers conducted another study of alcoholism in mice models, and achieved the same outcome. “We believe a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help the treatment and prevention of bipolar, and may help with alcoholism as well,” he said. The study also identified links between changes in the blood of the mice and changes on a molecular level in the brain. “There is now substantial evidence at the molecular level that omega-3 fatty acids work on the brain in ways similar to psychiatric drugs,” said Dr. Niculescu. “With these biomarker findings, we can now move forward as a field and do more targeted clinical studies in humans.” Niculescu believes that this research may lead to increased use of omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of depression and bipolar, especially in people unable to take psychiatric drugs.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Iris


    May 30th, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Omega 3s are so good for our overall health!! Happy to see that they are now being touted that they can help with mental health and stability too.

  • emmett


    May 31st, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    omega 3 is proving to be quite a revelation,isn’t it? it has proven to be beneficial for a lot of health issues. but let us be careful. I hope they are also researching about whether t has any negative effects in the long term or due to over usage. we need to be careful about such things,after all!

  • Marsha Vincent

    Marsha Vincent

    June 4th, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    I keep hearing about all the upsides of omega 3 and nobody ever seems to catch on about it. If it can affect an organism as simple as a mouse, then clearly it’s having some kind of benefit to it.

    It’s a lot better to take this approach than doping a guy up on random drugs.

  • Dario Castillo

    Dario Castillo

    June 5th, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    It’s good we’re making more advances in finding out exactly what causes the problems and exactly what fixes it. I feel a substance that actually works universally is much better than having a million medications for one thing.

    You don’t then have to go through the disappointment of trying a medication only to find it doesn’t work for you as well as hoped.

  • jessica hart

    jessica hart

    June 11th, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Why would some sufferers be unable to take psychiatric drugs anyway? Can they really be that dangerous to their system or is it just their price tag that puts them out of reach?

  • destiny watt

    destiny watt

    June 13th, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    @ jessica hart: Yes, some of them can be dangerous. They are drugs that infiltrate your brain which is something you don’t want to normally mess around with too much. I believe that it’s best avoided in a few cases due to potential for permanent damage.

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on