3

votes

Does Omega 3 stabilize mood?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 05, 2011 at 11:45 PM

My mother was just diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. The therapist recommended she start with omega 3's before jumping up to medication. I was shocked. Of course, we know the benefits of omega 3 for blood pressure, etc., but a mood stabilizer? I looked it up briefly link text

to verify, but I am interested in what the Paleo community has to say about this. Am I the only one who had no idea that omega 3's are beneficial as a mood stabilizer?

A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on November 25, 2011
at 05:43 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15960565

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:52 PM

Sometimes doctors don't really even bother with the diagnosis - they prescribe a drug, and then, if it 'works'- Hey, looks like you 'have' the 'disease'.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Bi-polar is actually *not* something you-have-or-you-don't. There is no "test" for mood disorders. All are diagnosed through "diagnostic criteria" i.e, a checklist. It's not a black/white by any stretch. In fact, they are now officially calling it "Bipolar Spectrum Disorder". The designation bipolar II won't be in the new DSM.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I have not yet read the article, but is interesting to me that ketosis is being suggested for bipolar -- it makes sense because bi-polar is currently treated pharmaceutically with anti-convulsants, and ketosis has long been recommended for epileptics.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Thanks for all of the great comments!

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 06, 2011
at 07:07 PM

I should add that getting alot of omega3s improves my mood, but its not a cure for me :( But it helps , maybe its the pleasure of consuming ones favorite food. (salmon in all forms;)

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:37 PM

I also like to eat juicy braises alot, (oxtail or beef cheek!) sometimes i forget to eat enough fish during a week, and i get more often depressive disorders. Once i used to cook fish every day and i felt quite good, i wasnt doing any paleo then. But i have realised my diet was almost paleo even then, i just ate some oatmeal and ryebread once a while but that was that. I have always cooked my own food and never ate something out of a box.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:24 PM

fish roe is truly super food, i mix it with little smetana (45% sour cream) and a bunch of herbs. Some roe need to be frozen before consuming to kill any nasty parasite egges. Fish roe has excelent omega 3/6 ratio. Its fairly expencive tho, i buy whole fish and gut and save the sacks. With larger fish you can even cook the liver and intestanal fat with soup or broth or something.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:38 PM

I need to chime and say I have been going VLC on my way to keto for a week and a half and it has made a marked improvement on my mental state. I have not had any hypomania at_all and my moody blues are almost non-existent! I also supplement with Magnesium/Calcium (2:1) and Taurine. I deviated one day with some carbs and it wrecked me.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:49 PM

Thank you Dr. K

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:48 PM

This really helps Jan. Looking for people who have had experience with this. Thanks.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:48 PM

Thank you Dexter.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:05 PM

And supplementing K2 with it really makes an impact. I use upwards of 20-45 mgs to help with this

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 06, 2011
at 09:46 AM

one negative thing on the voting is: people read quick and its very easy to vote. So its not always the best opinion upvoted, it more the most digestable the most popular. This might not the best answer.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:04 AM

The site was not to be considered as proof, only that it has been discussed. That's why I am asking here.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:33 AM

Yeah also micronutrients and cholesterol from Evolutionary Psychiatry. Start reading that blog!

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:15 AM

One thing I've noticed since starting paleo, and doing keto, is that my moods have stabilized a bit. I don't have bipolar, but it and "general moodiness" runs in my family. In general, I feel pretty good on keto.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:01 AM

Thank you for that information Mr. Bristlebeard. She will definitely be looking for alternatives to medication.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on May 06, 2011
at 12:58 AM

Yes it works.....

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 12:25 AM

http://bipolar.about.com/cs/experience/a/sfe_omega3.htm

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10 Answers

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2
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 06, 2011
at 06:40 AM

I have this, and i have noticed improved mood when i consume alot of fish roe or fatty fish. Part of it comes also the pleasure of enjoying good fish. I love fresh fish!:) Meat doesnt seem to have the same effect, sometimes when i go low on fish intake (like only twice a week), I am usually more depressed.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:48 PM

This really helps Jan. Looking for people who have had experience with this. Thanks.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:37 PM

I also like to eat juicy braises alot, (oxtail or beef cheek!) sometimes i forget to eat enough fish during a week, and i get more often depressive disorders. Once i used to cook fish every day and i felt quite good, i wasnt doing any paleo then. But i have realised my diet was almost paleo even then, i just ate some oatmeal and ryebread once a while but that was that. I have always cooked my own food and never ate something out of a box.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:24 PM

fish roe is truly super food, i mix it with little smetana (45% sour cream) and a bunch of herbs. Some roe need to be frozen before consuming to kill any nasty parasite egges. Fish roe has excelent omega 3/6 ratio. Its fairly expencive tho, i buy whole fish and gut and save the sacks. With larger fish you can even cook the liver and intestanal fat with soup or broth or something.

4
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Generally I'd say good diet improves anything, but in particular I have to think that improving blood sugar swings would go some way toward helping bipolar people

3
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:32 PM

Not to diminish O-3/O-6 balance as an important health consideration but the thing that helped me the most (and frankly, the ONLY thing) was the implementation of a gluten-free, yeast-free diet. I'm now eating about 97% grain/legume/soy/sugar-free, but I found the most significant effect from the initial changes.

For many years I was on medication for depression, and subsequently anxiety and bi-polar II, with negligible-to-no positive outcome. Currently I take no pharmaceuticals, and am more mood-stable than I've ever been in my life. 95% asymptomatic. I now recognize depression, anxiety, and hypomania as a direct function of the food and drink I consume, and the quality of my sleep.

Proper nutrition should be the cornerstone of treatment for any health problem, yet MDs are not required to learn anything but the food-pyramid basics. Furthermore, there is an important link between gut-health and mental-health that is being all but ignored by the increasing specialization of western medicine. [Just ask the celiacs with neuro-problems how long it took to get a diagnosis - and then ask them about the prescription.] The pharmaceutical industry basically writes the DSM, and the diagnoses therein should be trusted accordingly.

Your mom should certainly start supplementing with O-3, especially if she eats the SAD, and her Dr. is one-in-a-million to suggest diet over drugs. Be very grateful. The doctor must realize how few patients' mood problems are actually effectively managed through medication. Most doctors take it for granted that patients will have to try many different drugs (with potentially terrible side-effects) before finding something that provides any relief. It's an utterly hit-or-miss operation. The actual mechanisms of the drugs are fuzzy at best, even to researchers. Your mom isn't suffering from a lack of Lamictal. It's something else.

To address your question more specifically - I have indeed heard of O-3 supplementation suggested for mood-stabilization. It did not work on its own for me. I do currently take it daily, primarily to avoid joint pain/inflammation that I notice when my O-6 intake is high.

I hope your mother finds relief. Good luck!

2
60199d3a580a4e17969059609e48e678

on May 16, 2011
at 03:36 AM

when i started adding fish oil into my daily consumption i noticed that my depression (that I suffered from for 9 years) began diminishing. and now after 3 years of regularly taking it I feel no sign of depression. Thats just my experience anyways.

2
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 16, 2011
at 02:24 AM

Your link is a good one. It cites Andrew Stoll's research in 1999 which was a big groundbreaker. I also agree with the suggestion to buy Carlsons. Barleans is also a very good/pure/high dose brand. The original formulation that was actually used in Stoll and Locke's 1999 research was produced for sale under the name Omegabrite in 1999.It was an excellent product, but considerably lower than what you can now purchase in Carlsons or Barleans and other high quality formulations.

Stoll, who was the pricipal investigator in the 1999 Bipolar (these were severe Bipolar I's, not II's) study subsequently wrote a book you might consider getting. Heavy on diet as well a Omega info. As I remember, the study results were robust enough that they stopped midstudy to offer all partcipants Omega 3s for ethical reasons.

I think it is also important to know that the potential exists for some folks to be bumped into hypomania/ mania, so being monitored can be important and starting and titrating up gradually is also important. Some products, like GN's triple strength product could be more of a concern in this respect.

Here's the link for Stoll's book. It is an old, but good reveiw. You can find the book on Amazon.

http://www.aquarianonline.com/Reviews/books/Omega%203_Stoll.html

My best to you and your Mom.

2
Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

on May 06, 2011
at 01:56 AM

Not that it has that much to do with omega-3s, you might also want to look into ketosis diets for their effects on bipolar.

Here's two articles from Evolutionary Psychiatry that might be interesting, although they do go into a good bit of detail.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:33 AM

Yeah also micronutrients and cholesterol from Evolutionary Psychiatry. Start reading that blog!

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:15 AM

One thing I've noticed since starting paleo, and doing keto, is that my moods have stabilized a bit. I don't have bipolar, but it and "general moodiness" runs in my family. In general, I feel pretty good on keto.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I have not yet read the article, but is interesting to me that ketosis is being suggested for bipolar -- it makes sense because bi-polar is currently treated pharmaceutically with anti-convulsants, and ketosis has long been recommended for epileptics.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:01 AM

Thank you for that information Mr. Bristlebeard. She will definitely be looking for alternatives to medication.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 06, 2011
at 09:46 AM

one negative thing on the voting is: people read quick and its very easy to vote. So its not always the best opinion upvoted, it more the most digestable the most popular. This might not the best answer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:38 PM

I need to chime and say I have been going VLC on my way to keto for a week and a half and it has made a marked improvement on my mental state. I have not had any hypomania at_all and my moody blues are almost non-existent! I also supplement with Magnesium/Calcium (2:1) and Taurine. I deviated one day with some carbs and it wrecked me.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Thanks for all of the great comments!

1
408b32d0900853851167089d730f1881

on November 25, 2011
at 03:19 AM

I know that our doctor suggested both regular Vitamin D supplementation, along with a complete, extended-release B-100 vitamin supplement to accompany the medications for my son who was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 at the age of 17. Now that he's 18 and been on his medication for over a year (with excellent results, although it took us a while to settle on a good routine), he's now talking about wanting to move away from the prescriptions (under a doctor's supervision), but not the vitamin supplements.

I hadn't thought of adding in Omega-3 supplements for him as well - will look into that now, thanks!

(He's on a 40% paleo diet already by subterfuge when he deigns to eat what I cook, heh...)

1
A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on November 25, 2011
at 03:06 AM

EPA seems to be of great benefit, especially in high doses (1gram or greater). here is a composite of studies on this - http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/meds/Omega-3.htm.

being diagnosed later in life screams environmental. if it were heavily weighted towards genetic predisposition it would have presented in her late teens or early 20s.

supplementation will help if she is omega-3 deficient and that deficiency the root cause or major contributing factor. however, an omega-3 deficiency might not be the underlying cause in her case. mood disorder is like any broken system - there might be a number of causes producing the same result. but omega-3 deficiency is a common issue with mood disorder, so a good place to start. she has a wise therapist.

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:14 AM

Supplementation with Vit D3 is also seems to elevate peoples moods. Dr K wants his patients to be in the range of 70 to 100 ng/mL serum.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:48 PM

Thank you Dexter.

0
8f4ff12a53a98f3b5814cfe242de0daa

(1075)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:02 AM

I don't think the site your linking to should really be considered a realistic medical info source. Granted most people could benefit from having some omega-3.... but still a clinical study at least would be nice.

There are effective medicines that treat bipolar disorder. I thought ti was more something you had or you didn't, the therapist making the diagnosis is a real psychologist not just some random naturalpath/non-medical doctor right?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:52 PM

Sometimes doctors don't really even bother with the diagnosis - they prescribe a drug, and then, if it 'works'- Hey, looks like you 'have' the 'disease'.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:04 AM

The site was not to be considered as proof, only that it has been discussed. That's why I am asking here.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 06, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Bi-polar is actually *not* something you-have-or-you-don't. There is no "test" for mood disorders. All are diagnosed through "diagnostic criteria" i.e, a checklist. It's not a black/white by any stretch. In fact, they are now officially calling it "Bipolar Spectrum Disorder". The designation bipolar II won't be in the new DSM.

A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on November 25, 2011
at 05:43 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15960565

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