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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
My best to you and your Mom.
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.
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.
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...)
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?
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