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n-3 Fatty Acids (Omega 3 fatty acids) and BDNF


N-3 fatty acids (aka Omega 3 fatty acids) are a subgroup of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that may be helpful in understanding and treating bipolar disorder through multiple potential mechanisms including increasing the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).  BDNF is a protein that is promotes brain cell develpment and can improve our brain’s ability to learn and adapt to the environment

 The long term usefulness and side effects in people of Omega 3 fatty acids are still being understood however; the risk appears to be low as  these fatty acids are eaten naturally when we consume fish and other sealife and are also widely digested as health supplements throughout the world.  They are by no means at this time FDA approved to treat any illness and any addition of this supplement to your diet should be done under the close guidance and suggestion of your physician psychiatrist or other qualified health professional.
 Two types of n-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are some of the most studied and tried in an effort to improve mental health and well being.  The most promising research to date appears to be in the realm of mood regulation.  Psychiatrists and Child Psychiatrists, backed by ongoing research,  are looking more and more at these nutrients to help patients and their families overcome Bipolar Disorder and Depression.   Though mechanisms are not well understood as of yet there seem to be several ways in which DHA and EPA can be helpful.  They may for instance aid in the fatty acid composition of cell membranes or increase dopamine and and dopamine receptors in the frontal cortex as well as possibly protect the brain from oxidative stress. Interestingly as well, these fatty acids appear to aid in BDNF  production discussed previously. 
Though Omega-3 fatty acids look good on paper, they have overall been a little disappointing when it comes to treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) however research remains ongoing. Psychiatrists and Child Psychiatrists alike remain optimistic.
Overall, it’s exciting news that a food that we are already eating may contain a nutrient that can be studied and potentially used to find the best way to treat bipolar disorder.
(We very much hope that you have enjoyed this article. Please remember that nothing in this article is meant to be given as any type of medical or psychiatric advice and is for informational purposes only.  Nor is this article intended to substitute in any way for professional medical or psychiatric advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician, psychiatrist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical or psychiatric condition. We strongly advise that you never disregard professional medical or psychiatric advice or delay in seeking advise because of anything you have read on the Acadian Care website.  Thank you. )