A body of evidence has implicated dietary deficiency in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA), including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the pathophysiology and etiology of recurrent mood disorders including major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder.
Cross-national and cross-sectional evidence suggests that greater habitual intake of n-3 PUFA is associated with reduced risk for developing mood symptoms. Meta-analyses provide strong evidence that patients with mood disorders exhibit low blood n-3 PUFA levels which are associated with increased risk for the initial development of mood symptoms in response to inflammation.
While the etiology of this n-3 PUFA deficit may be multifactorial, n-3 PUFA supplementation is sufficient to correct this deficit and may also have antidepressant effects.
Rodent studies suggest that n-3 PUFA deficiency during perinatal development can recapitulate key neuropathological, neurochemical, and behavioral features associated with mood disorders. Clinical neuroimaging studies suggest that low n-3 PUFA biostatus is associated with abnormalities in cortical structure and function also observed in mood disorders.
Collectively, these findings implicate dietary n-3 PUFA insufficiency, particularly during development, in the pathophysiology of mood dysregulation, and support implementation of routine screening for and treatment of n-3 PUFA deficiency in patients with mood disorders.
Medical opinion and guidance should always be sought for any symptoms that might possibly reflect a known or suspected disease, disorder or medical condition. Information provided on this website (or by FAB Research via any other means) does not in any way constitute advice on the treatment of any medical condition formally diagnosed or otherwise.