There’s growing interest in the relationship between fatty acids and variability in mood, behavior, and personality.
Here are the findings of a study conducted by researchers at the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh in the US.
Blood levels of alpha-linolenic (alpha-LNA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were measured in 105 adults with high cholesterol blood levels. Mood was measured by using a series of surveys.
Higher blood levels of EPA and DHA were associated with affect regulation, personality, and impulse control.
These results are at odds with a literature review published in December 2006 by researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK. They concluded, “The evidence available provides little support for the use of n-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] to improve depressed mood.”
Another analysis of the literature concluded there was a “significant benefit in unipolar and bipolar depression.” However, these researchers from the University of Arizona caution, “The results were highly heterogeneous, indicating that it is important to examine the characteristics of each individual study to note the differences in design and execution.”
They found less evidence of benefit in schizophrenia, and negligible risks with some potential benefit in major depressive and bipolar disorders. The results, they concluded, are inconclusive in most areas of interest in psychiatry.
The bottom line?
We haven’t reached the bottom line yet.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.