Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Building a Better Brain with Micronutrients - BOOK HERE

Reduced mania and depression in juvenile bipolar disorder associated with long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation

Clayton EH, Hanstock TL, Hirneth SJ, Kable CJ, Garg ML, Hazell PL (2009) Eur J Clin Nutr. Jan 21. [Epub ahead of print]  

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCn-3PUFA) supplementation may improve symptoms of depression in children and bipolar disorder (BD) in adults. No studies have examined the effectiveness of LCn-3PUFA supplementation in the treatment of mania and depression in juvenile BD (JBD) when given as an adjunct to standard pharmacological treatment.

Eighteen children and adolescents with JBD received supplements containing 360 mg per day eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1560 mg per day docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 6 weeks in an open-label study. Intake and fasting red blood cell (RBC) LCn-3PUFA, mania, depression and global function were assessed before and after supplementation.

RBC EPA and DHA were significantly higher following supplementation. Clinician ratings of mania and depression were significantly lower and global functioning significantly higher after supplementation. Parent ratings of internalizing and externalizing behaviours were also significantly lower following supplementation.

A larger randomized controlled trial appears warranted in this participant population.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 21 January 2009; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2008.81.


This open-label study found benefits from supplementation with long-chain omega-3 in children and adolescents with bipolar (manic depressive) disorder, providing supportive evidence for carrying out placebo-controlled trials in this age-group.

For an explanation of the rationale, and a summary of findings from clinical trials in adults with bipolar disorder, see: