“In a multi-year study, researchers showed conclusive behavioral and molecular benefits for omega 3 fatty acid given to mice models of bipolar disorder. The fatty acid DHA, which is one of the main active ingredients in fish oil, "normalized their behavior," according to Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and the lead author of the study reported online in the Nature Publishing Group journal Translational Psychiatry.”Researchers were able to draw such conclusions by studying the effects of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on mice with characteristic bipolar symptoms including depression and manic episodes when exposed to stress.
Results showed that DHA normalized the behavior of the mice as they showed no signs of depression and experienced no periods of mania when under stress. Furthermore, molecular changes in their brain resulting from DHA correlate with molecular markers found in the blood, suggesting that DHA works similarly to psychiatric medications in the brain. According to Dr. Niculescu, "with these biomarker findings, we can now move forward as a field and do more targeted clinical studies in humans".
In addition, while studying the effects of DHA on the brain, researchers discovered that mice given DHA had less desire for alcohol.
“'These bipolar mice, like some bipolar patients, love alcohol. The mice on DHA drank much less; it curtailed their alcohol abusive behavior,' he said, adding that this is a completely novel finding. To verify this finding, the researchers studied another well-established animal model of alcoholism, the alcohol preferring P rats, and obtained similar results.”Perhaps fish oil supplements may soon be used to treat bipolar disorder and alcoholism either exclusively or in conjunction with other treatment methods, thereby reducing unpleasant side effects of psychiatric medications while potentially improving overall health.
Fish Oil May Have Positive Effects on Mood, Alcohol Craving, New Study Shows
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