Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2015 Aug;13(2):129-137. 10.9758/cpn.2015.13.2.129.

Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Mind-Body Interface Laboratory (MBI-Lab), China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan. cobolsu@gmail.com
  • 2Graduate Institute of Neural and Cognitive Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
  • 3Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Translational Medical Center, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Psychiatric disorders in general, and major depression and anxiety disorders in particular, account for a large burden of disability, morbidity and premature mortality worldwide. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a range of neurobiological activities in modulation of neurotransmitters, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation and neuroplasticity, which could contribute to psychotropic effects. Here we reviewed recent research on the benefits of omega-3 PUFA supplements in prevention against major depression, bipolar disorders, interferon-alpha-induced depression patients with chronic hepatitis C viral infection, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The biological mechanisms underlying omega-3 PUFAs' psychotropic effects are proposed and reviewed. Nutrition is a modifiable environmental factor that might be important in prevention medicine, which have been applied for many years in the secondary prevention of heart disease with omega-3 PUFAs. This review extends the notion that nutrition in psychiatry is a modifiable environmental factor and calls for more researches on prospective clinical studies to justify the preventive application of omega-3 PUFAs in daily practice.

Keyword

Omega-3 (N-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA); Depression; Anxiety disorders; Psychotic disorders; Clinical trials
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