A preliminary nutritional study involving patients with bipolar disorder found that an increase in particular fatty acids such as Omega 3’s appeared to reduce mood swings and irritability when used as an adjunct to traditional pharmaceutical drugs.
The study involved 41 participants between the ages of 20 and 75. Patients were treated over a 12 week period. In particular, an intake high in omega 3s and low in omega 6’s, in addition to usual care led to a reduction in irritability, mood swings and pain and an increase in energy in Bi-polar patients.
Some of the nutrition that was provided to the the patients included fatty fish such as salmon and tuna as well as a blend of olive and macadamia nut oil. The subjects in the study were also made to reduce their consumption of red meat and were given specially formulated snack foods.
It is thought that fatty acids in the brain perform two main functions. They :
- Are an important component of cell membranes of neurons in the brain and
- Form an important role in the cell signalling throughout the brain and the body that interacts with the immune system and the inflammatory system.
It is said that patients with Bipolar Disorder who are pharmaceutically medicated, will often need additional treatment to help achieve total stability of moods. Fatty acid therapy is now being considered a very effective adjunct to traditional care.
The use of fatty acid therapy has also been used in the treatment of migraine headaches, which is thought to have some overlaps and co-morbidity with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, Omega 3’s have been explored in various conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatological conditions and a wide range of other psychiatric disorders.
Some of the richest and best sources of Omega 3’s include anchovies, sardines and fresh salmon. They are known as having anti-inflammatory effects on the body as opposed to Omega 6’s which are pro -inflammatory.
For more information or to organise an appointment with a Naturopath please contact Michelle Blum here. Her Acupuncture and Naturopathy clinic is based in the Brisbane southside suburb of Moorooka.