Fish Oil May Aid Against Manic DepressionStudy Attributes Dramatic Improvement in Patients to Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Supplements
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 27, 1999; Page Z07
Scientists believe they have found a surprising new ally in their efforts to understand and treat the sharp mood swings of manic depression--the fatty acids of fish oil.
A Harvard University clinical trial of 44 patients suffering from manic, or bipolar, depression had such positive results with fish oil that the experiment was stopped after four months and all patients were put on a treatment of 14 capsules per day.
"The group taking the fish oil was performing strikingly better than the placebo group, including significantly longer periods of remission," said Andrew L. Stoll, director of the Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital. "A decision was made to stop the trial on ethical grounds."
Based on those promising findings, Stoll said, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has given preliminary approval for a larger fish oil trial starting this summer. That trial, at McLean and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, would include 120 people suffering from manic depression and would last for three years.
"If this works, it would be one of the most exciting findings in psychiatry in the past 20 years," said Jerry Cott, chief of the psychopharmacology research program at the National Institute of Mental Health. "This is the first time we would be testing a nutritional supplement that appears to be having efficacy about to the degree of a synthetic medication."
"This could give us real insight into what is the basis of this psychiatric disorder," Cott said. "Right now, we have no clue what it's really about."
In the Harvard study, all the patients continued on their other medications. About half were also treated with fish oil capsules, while the others got olive oil as a placebo. According to Stoll, 11 of the 15 patients taking the fish oil improved after four months, and only two had a recurrence. Six of 20 on the placebo responded positively, he said, and 11 had a relapse. Some patients were not counted because the trial was stopped before they had completed their four-month treatment.
Details of the study will be published in May in a major medical journal.
Read the rest here.
The Brain Bio Centre
Food for the Brain
At the Brain Bio Centre, the best results we’ve seen in helping those with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders are achieved by investigating a number of possible avenues. These include:
• Blood sugar problems made worse by excess stimulant and drug use
• Essential fat imbalances
• Too many oxidants and not enough antioxidants
• Niacin (Vitamin B3) therapy
• Methylation problems helped by B12 and folic acid
• Pyroluria and the need for zinc
• Food allergies
Quite apart from these nutritional factors, having good psychological support and a stable home environment make a major impact upon those with mental health problems.
Thanks to Duane Sherry for suggesting these links.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)