Research: OWEN and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 163


OWEN and COLLEAGUES,  Black Dog Institute, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia. review [46 References] the evidence for a link between omega-3 deficiency and development of mood disorders such as depression.


There is increasing evidence from epidemiological, case-control and randomized clinical trials for a link between omega-3 deficiency and the development of mood disorders.


The authors examine recent evidence for this association.


During the past year our understanding of the effect of omega-3 depletion on the structure and function of the brain has been furthered by research examining human brain tissue and by studies utilizing animal models of depression. Human and animal research has also provided further evidence for omega-3 affecting mood via its anti-inflammatory effects. Previous clinical trials indicated that omega-3 can be effective as an adjunctive treatment for those with treatment-resistant depression. More recent clinical trial data indicate that omega-3 may also be an effective monotherapy for childhood depression and for depressed mood in patients who engage in recurrent self-harm. The recent clinical trial data regarding omega-3 as a treatment for bipolar disorder are inconclusive, however, and clinical trials in postnatal depression are still lacking.


This article reviews the most important recent papers in this burgeoning and interesting research area. [References: 46]


Owen C, Rees AM and Parker G. The role of fatty acids in the development and treatment of mood disorders. [Review] [46 refs] Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 21(1):19-24. Jan  2008.

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