First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Bipolar Disorder
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in marine or plant sources, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil. A few studies suggest that adding omega-3 fatty acids to medicine (such as lithium) can help reduce the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder in some people. Omega-3 fatty acids don't seem to have an effect on the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. And omega-3 fatty acids alone are not a good treatment for bipolar disorder. They are not a replacement for medicine or other therapy used to treat bipolar disorder.footnote 1, footnote 2
There are few, if any, negative side effects from omega-3 fatty acids. Loose stools are reported most often. Researchers think that omega-3 fatty acids help support the membranes of brain cells. This makes it easier for the cells to send signals to one another, which may make depressive symptoms less likely.footnote 1
Montgomery P, Richardson AJ (2009). Omega-3 fatty acids for bipolar disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
Sarris J, et al. (2012). Omega-3 for bipolar disorder: Meta-analyses of use in mania and bipolar depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 73(1): 81–86.
Current as of:
June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Patrice Burgess MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineChristine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.