First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Bipolar Disorder
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in marine or plant sources, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil. A few studies suggest that adding omega-3 fatty acids to medicine (such as lithium) can help reduce the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder in some people. Omega-3 fatty acids don't seem to have an effect on the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. And omega-3 fatty acids alone are not a good treatment for bipolar disorder. They are not a replacement for medicine or other therapy used to treat bipolar disorder.footnote 1, footnote 2
There are few, if any, negative side effects from omega-3 fatty acids. Loose stools are reported most often. Researchers think that omega-3 fatty acids help support the membranes of brain cells. This makes it easier for the cells to send signals to one another, which may make depressive symptoms less likely.footnote 1
Montgomery P, Richardson AJ (2009). Omega-3 fatty acids for bipolar disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
Sarris J, et al. (2012). Omega-3 for bipolar disorder: Meta-analyses of use in mania and bipolar depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 73(1): 81–86.
Current as of: May 28, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineChristine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
Current as of:
May 28, 2019
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
509 N. Bright Leaf Blvd.
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone (919) 934-8171
Employee Intranet Login
Copyright 2020 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.