Fish oil, and the omega-3 fatty acids it contains, has been thought to treat depression in some studies along with other conditions, and now researchers think it could be a possible treatment for bipolar disorder and alcoholism.
Researchers used mice that show characteristics of bipolar disorder to conduct the study, and after giving them the fatty acid DHA, which is found in fish oil, the mice stopped showing depressive and manic behaviors, according to an article at medicalxpress.com. The mice also didn’t crave alcohol as much, and alcohol abuse is sometimes present in people who have bipolar disorder.
Although more research needs to be done, the lead author of the study, Alexander Niculescu, said in the article that omega-3 fatty acids could treat and prevent bipolar disorder and alcoholism in the future. The website MedlinePlus stated that “taking fish oil with the usual treatments for bipolar disorder seems to improve symptoms of depression and increase the length of time between episodes of depression. But fish oil doesn’t seem to improve manic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder.”
Previous studies have shown mixed results for the effectiveness of fish oil in treating depression and mood disorders. One study mentioned on www.physorg.com found that fish oil was ineffective in treating postpartum depression, while another study found on www.sciencedaily.com stated that “omega-3 consumed during pregnancy curbs risk for postpartum depression symptoms.” The article suggested that pregnant women ingest fish with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids two to three days a week. A study from 2010 on www.sciencedaily.com concluded that “the use of Omega-3 supplements is effective among patients with major depression who do not have anxiety disorders.”
MedlinePlus stated that “there is inconsistent information about the effect of taking fish oil on depression. Some research shows that taking fish oil along with an antidepressant might help improve symptoms.