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People With Bipolar Disorder May Have Lower Levels of Omega-3's

Omega-3s are an essential part of cell-to-cell communication in the brain and have also been found to combat inflammation, which previous studies suggest may contribute to depression. A recent study further examined how omega-3s and depression interact and found that people with bipolar disorder may have lower levels of an omega-3 fatty acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier than people without bipolar disorder.


Participants in the study included 27 people with symptomatic bipolar disorder and 31 healthy controls. The researchers measured blood levels of different forms of the polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. Additionally, the participants self-reported fatty acid consumption and bipolar medication use.


Free fatty acids can cross the blood-brain barrier but fatty acids that are bound to proteins cannot. The researchers found that the subjects with bipolar disorder had a lower ratio of free-circulating omega-3 fatty acid EPA to protein-bound EPA when compared with people who did not have bipolar disorder. This means that people with bipolar disorder have lower availability of omega-3’s in the body.


The researchers hope that this study will prompt further investigations into omega-3 levels and omega-3 supplementation and depression.


Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health conducted the study. It was published in the November 2015 issue of the journal Bipolar Disorders.


Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.


Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s. T If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency.

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