ω3 Fatty acids may inhibit neuronal signal transduction pathways in a manner similar to that of lithium carbonate and valproate, 2 effective treatments for bipolar disorder. The present study was performed to examine whether ω3 fatty acids also exhibit mood-stabilizing properties in bipolar disorder.
A 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, comparing ω3 fatty acids (9.6 g/d) vs placebo (olive oil), in addition to usual treatment, in 30 patients with bipolar disorder.
A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of the cohort found that the ω3 fatty acid patient group had a significantly longer period of remission than the placebo group (P=.002; Mantel-Cox). In addition, for nearly every other outcome measure, the ω3 fatty acid group performed better than the placebo group.
ω3 Fatty acids were well tolerated and improved the short-term course of illness in this preliminary study of patients with bipolar disorder.