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n-3 Fatty acids and mood: the devil is in the detail

  • Alex J. Richardson (a1)
Extract

Increasing evidence suggests that a low dietary intake of the n-3 long-chain PUFA EPA and DHA may contribute not only to the risks for various physical illnesses (particularly cardiovascular and immune system disorders), but also to many disorders of mental health and performance1,2. From their recent comprehensive review of the evidence for these n-3 fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders3, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) made the following recommendations:

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References
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1Peet, M, Glen, I & Horrobin, DF (editors) (2006) Phospholipid Spectrum Disorders in Psychiatry and Neurology. Carnforth: Marius Press.
2Vaddadi, K (editor) (2006) Essential fatty acids and mental illness. In Int Rev Psychiatry, pp. 18, 81186, Special Issue.
3Freeman, MP, Hibbeln, JR, Wisner, KL, Davis, JM, Mischoulon, D, Peet, M, Keck, PE Jr, Marangell, LB, Richardson, AJ, Lake, J & Stoll, AL (2006) Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry. J Clin Psychiatry 67, 19541967.
4Rogers, PJ, Appleton, KM, Kessler, D, Peters, TJ, Gunnell, D, Hayward, RC, Heatherley, SV, Christian, LM, McNaughton, SA & Ness, AR (2007) No effect of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (EPA and DHA) supplementation on depressed mood and cognitive function: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr 95, 000000.
5Zanarini, MC & Frankenburg, FR (2003) Omega-3 fatty acid treatment of women with borderline personality disorder: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Am J Psychiatry 160, 167169.
6Hallahan, B, Hibbeln, JR, Davis, JM & Garland, MR (2007) Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with recurrent self-harm: single-centre double-blind randomised controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 190, 118–112.
7Buydens-Branchey, L & Branchey, M (2006) n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease anxiety feelings in a population of substance abusers. J Clin Psychopharmacol 26, 661665.
8Hamazaki, T, Sawazaki, S, Itomura, M, Asaoka, E, Nagao, Y, Nishimura, N, Yazawa, K, Kuwamori, T & Kobayashi, M (1996) The effect of docosahexaenoic acid on aggression in young adults. A placebo-controlled double-blind study. J Clin Invest 97, 11291133.
9Fontani, G, Corradeschi, F, Felici, A, Alfatti, F, Migliorini, S & Lodi, L (2005) Cognitive and physiological effects of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Invest 35, 691699.
10Richardson, AJ (2006) Omega-3 fatty acids in ADHD and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Int Rev Psychiatry 18, 155172.
11Freund-Levi, Y, Eriksdotter-Jonhagen, M, Cederholm, T, Basun, H, Faxen-Irving, G, Garlind, A, Vedin, I, Vessby, B, Wahlund, LO & Palmblad, J (2006) Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial. Arch Neurol 63, 14021408.
12Appleton, KM, Hayward, RC, Gunnell, D, Peters, TJ, Rogers, PJ, Kessler, D & Ness, AR (2006) Effects of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on depressed mood: systematic review of published trials. Am J Clin Nutr 84, 13081316.
13Peet, M & Horrobin, DFA (2002) dose-ranging study of the effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate in patients with ongoing depression despite apparently adequate treatment with standard drugs. Arch Gen Psychiatry 59, 913919.
14Peet, M & Horrobin, DFE-E-Multicentre-Study-Group (2002) A dose-ranging exploratory study of the effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate in patients with persistent schizophrenic symptoms. J Psychiatry Res 36, 718.
15Recommendations for intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids in healthy adults ISSFAL Policy Statement 3, June Meeting, Brighton (www.issfal.org.uk/).
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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