Omega-3 fatty Acids in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders

Swallownest Court Hospital, Doncaster and South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK.
Drugs (Impact Factor: 4.13). 02/2005; 65(8):1051-9. DOI: 10.2165/00003495-200565080-00002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The importance of omega-3 fatty acids for physical health is now well recognised and there is increasing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may also be important to mental health. The two main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have important biological functions in the CNS. DHA is a major structural component of neuronal membranes, and changing the fatty acid composition of neuronal membranes leads to functional changes in the activity of receptors and other proteins embedded in the membrane phospholipid. EPA has important physiological functions that can affect neuronal activity. Epidemiological studies indicate an association between depression and low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids, and biochemical studies have shown reduced levels of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cell membranes in both depressive and schizophrenic patients. Five of six double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in schizophrenia, and four of six such trials in depression, have reported therapeutic benefit from omega-3 fatty acids in either the primary or secondary statistical analysis, particularly when EPA is added on to existing psychotropic medication. Individual clinical trials have suggested benefits of EPA treatment in borderline personality disorder and of combined omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The evidence to date supports the adjunctive use of omega-3 fatty acids in the management of treatment unresponsive depression and schizophrenia. As these conditions are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus, omega-3 fatty acids should also benefit the physical state of these patients. However, as the clinical research evidence is preliminary, large, and definitive randomised controlled trials similar to those required for the licensing of any new pharmacological treatment are needed.

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Available from: Caroline Stokes, Aug 25, 2015
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    • "In particular EPA appears effective at restoring mood, compared to DHA (Song and Zhao, 2007; Peet and Stokes, 2005). Also, cognitively impaired or even demented PD patients may benefit from n-3 PUFA treatment, as the lipids are known to improve cognition in cognitively impaired elderly (Cole et al., 2009). "
    Eicosapentaenoic acid: sources, health effects, and role in disease prevention, Edited by Theodore G. Bradley, Francisco P. Vargas, 01/2012: chapter Eicosapentaenoic acid and bone metabolism: pages 47-74; Nova Science Publishers.
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    • "The main arguments suggesting a prominent effect of EPA stem from the results of clinical assays in mood disorders. Indeed, at least 7 out of 10 trials in mood disorder patients using EPA-enriched formulations led to a positive outcome, while none out of 3 reported any beneficial effect of DHA-enriched preparations [95] [96] [97] [98] "
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    ABSTRACT: The current rise in the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is unfortunately not matched by new treatment options. In the last 10 years, epidemiological, preclinical and clinical data have enlightened the possible preventive action of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) in AD and other diseases. While the contribution of recent studies to our general knowledge is priceless, many important new questions have been raised. In the present review, we aim at addressing some of these timely interrogations. First, the transport of n-3 PUFA across the blood-brain barrier is underscored based on preclinical data. Second, the relative contribution of two neuroactive n-3 PUFA found in fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6 n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3), remains unclear and is reviewed. Third, clinical trials on neurodegenerative diseases consistently remind us that treating early is critical, and this is likely to be the case with n-3 PUFA in AD as well. Fourth, we draw attention to the possibility that the current knowledge translation approach to make health recommendations might have to be adapted to non-patentable endogenous compounds like n-3 PUFA. We propose that answers to these critical questions will be instrumental toward a rational use of n-3 PUFA in AD.
    Current Alzheimer research 05/2011; 8(5):470-8. DOI:10.2174/156720511796391881 · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are structural components of membrane phospholipids. There is evidence that the long-chain PUFAs of the omega-3 series, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have significant therapeutic potential in psychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions (Dyall and Michael-Titus, 2008; Peet and Stokes, 2005). More recently , omega-3 PUFAs have been shown to confer significant neuroprotection following both ischemic and traumatic SCI (Huang et al., 2007b; King et al., 2006; Lang-Lazdunski et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) significantly improves several histological and behavioral measures after spinal cord injury (SCI). White matter damage plays a key role in neurological outcome following SCI. Therefore, we examined the effects of the acute intravenous (IV) administration of DHA (250 nmol/kg) 30 min after thoracic compression SCI in rats, alone or in combination with a DHA-enriched diet (400 mg/kg/d, administered for 6 weeks post-injury), on white matter pathology. By 1 week post-injury, the acute IV DHA injection led to significantly reduced axonal dysfunction, as indicated by accumulation of β-amyloid precursor protein (-55% compared to vehicle-injected controls) in the dorsal columns. The loss of cytoskeletal proteins following SCI was also significantly reduced. There were 43% and 73% more axons immunoreactive for non-phosphorylated 200-kD neurofilament in the ventral white matter and ventrolateral white matter, respectively, in animals receiving DHA injections than vehicle-injected rats. The acute DHA treatment also led to a significant improvement in microtubule-associated protein-2 immunoreactivity. By 6 weeks, damage to myelin and serotonergic fibers was also reduced. For some of the parameters measured, the combination of DHA injection and DHA-enriched diet led to greater neuroprotection than DHA injection alone. These findings demonstrate the therapeutic potential of DHA in SCI, and clearly indicate that this fatty acid confers significant protection to the white matter.
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