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Current Psychopharmacology


ISSN (Print): 2211-5560
ISSN (Online): 2211-5579

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation in Psychiatric Disorders: A Systematic Review

Author(s): Silvio Bellino, Paola Bozzatello, Elena Brignolo, Chiara Brunetti and Filippo Bogetto

Volume 1, Issue 4, 2012

Page: [353 - 364] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/2211556011201040353

Price: $65


The importance of omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to improve several medical conditions is well recognized. More recently, these agents, because of their role of stabilization of neuronal membranes, have been considered in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. The aim of this review is to provide a complete account of the empirical evidences of efficacy and safety for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosaexaenoic acid (DHA) and other less used PUFAs in the management of mental illness. There is little evidence to support the use of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of schizophrenia and of conditions characterized by high level of impulsivity and aggression. The most convincing findings are in favour of the use of PUFAs for mood disorders, especially unipolar and bipolar depression (but not mania). Concerning ADHD, trials are characterized by considerable heterogeneity in methods and omega-3 fatty acids supplementation exhibits modest benefits compared with traditional pharmacotherapy. On the basis of available data, omega-3 PUFAs cannot be unequivocally recommended as a monotherapy or adjunctive-therapy in any mental disorder. Although these compounds represent a novel and attractive modality of treatment, also considering good tolerability and safety, further studies are required to confirm omega-3 fatty acids supplementation as an effective intervention in psychiatric disorders.

Keywords: Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosaexaenoic acid, schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, impulsivity, efficacy, adverse effects, Psychiatric Disorders, leukotriens, poly-unsatured fatty acids, synaptic membrane, neuronal cell membrane

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