A study in July 2011 found that the more fish oil people devour, the less anxiety and inflammation they experience, according to a Science Daily article.
“Those receiving the omega-3 showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety compared to the placebo group,” according to the article.
Scott said that it would be best to eat fish and only take supplements if you think you have a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids.
“Some [studies] have shown mood improvements [for people taking supplements], while others have shown no real benefits,” Scott said. “This is [the] reason I don’t suggest omega-3 supplements for everyone.” She said you can go to different labs to get fatty acid tests.
An article on the University of Maryland Medical Center’s website also states that results are mixed on how much omega-3 fatty acids can really help certain mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, and cognitive disorders like dementia (and specifically Alzheimer’s disease).
“Scientists believe the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is protective against Alzheimer's disease and dementia,” according to the website. But for mental disorders, it is generally either slightly beneficial or there is no noticeable benefit from ingesting more omega-3 fatty acids.
Natasha Tracy, a writer and creator of the blog “Bipolar Burble” who also lives with bipolar disorder, said in an email that it’s important to remember that omega-3 fatty acids supplements shouldn’t be taken alone but along with other medication when treating mental disorders.
“Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help in depression, bipolar depression and bipolar disorder in general,” Tracy said. “While not all studies show a clear benefit, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that omega-3 supplements do work.”
One website she found summarizes different research studies of how Omega-3 fatty acids affect certain mental disorders:
University of Maryland Medical Center. Omega-3 fatty acids. Web. Nov. 16, 2011. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm
Scott, Trudy. Email interview. Nov. 16, 2011.