Omega-3 fatty acid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acidsfound in certain fish tissues, and in vegetable sources such as flax seeds , walnuts , and canola oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are classed as essential fatty acids These fatty acids were originally designated as "Vitamin F", until it was realized that they must be classified with the fats.

The term "omega-3" signifies that the first double bond in the carbon backbone of the fatty acid, counting from the end opposite the acid group, occurs in the third carbon-carbon bond.

Common omega-3 fatty acids in the body are linolenic acid (18:3), eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5), docosahexaenoic acid (22:6).

It has been conjectured that the diet in the Human Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness may have been rich in seafood, and that modern diets are deficient in the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids perhaps leading to a number of modern illnesses.

Possible benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

A number of remarkable benefits have been attributed to omega-3 fatty acids in recent years. However, these are so far provisional results, and cannot yet be regarded as fact until they have been confirmed by further studies.

There are preliminary reports that supplementing the diet with large doses of omega-3 oils may act as a mood stabilizer, opening the possibility of their use as a treatment for depression and bipolar disorder However, the reports relating to this state that care must be taken to avoid overdose, and more research is needed.

Lower doses have also been reported as having possible beneficial cardiovascular effects,.

There are also initial reports that omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of dementia in old age.

Known and suspected risks of omega-3 fatty acids

In its letter entitled Letter Regarding Dietary Supplement Health Claim for Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease the U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements noted that the known or suspected risks of omega-3 fatty acids may include:

increased bleeding times,

the possibility of hemorrhagic stroke,

oxidation of omega-3 fatty acids forming biologically active oxidation products,

increased levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol or apoproteins associated with LDL cholesterol among diabetics and hyperlipidemics

reduced glycemic control among diabetics.

suppression of immune and inflammation responses, and consequently, to decreased resistance to infections and increased susceptibility to opportunistic bacteria

In addition, another potential risk is the possibility of vitamin poisoning from taking large doses of supplements which contain significant amounts of vitamins in addition to Omega-3 fatty acids.

For these reasons, the FDA recommends that total dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids be limited to 3g/day, of which no more than 2g/day should come from nutritional supplements. ( However, many nutritionists recommend more than this, pointing out that the studies used by the FDA only indirectly show that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids are harmful.


Andrew L. Stoll et al. Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder - A Preliminary Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial <> (


U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements: Letter Regarding Dietary Supplement Health Claim for Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease (Docket No. 91N-0103)

BBC News story: Fish 'lowers dementia risk' <> (

Bipolar World   1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Owners:  Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)

Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff)
Founder:  Colleen Sullivan
Email Us at Bipolar World

About Us  Add a Link  Advance Directives  Alternative Treatments  Ask the Doctor   Ask Dr. Plyler about Bipolar Disorder   Ask The Doctor/Topic Archives  Awards  Benny the Bipolar Puppy  Bipolar Chat  Bipolar Children  Bipolar Disorder News  Bipolar Help Contract  Bipolar World Forums  Book Reviews  Bookstore  BP & Other mental Illness   Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval   Community Support   Contact Us  The Continuum of Mania and Depression   Coping   Criteria    Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World Health Disabilities,  DSMV-IV   Dual Diagnosis  eGroups  Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery, Memorials  Family Members   Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment  Greeting Cards  History of Mental Illness  Indigo  Job and School  Links    Medications   Medication and Weight Gain    News of the Day  Parent Chat  Pay for Meds  Personal Stories  Self Help  Self Injury  Significant Others  Stigma and Mental Health Law  Storm's Column  Suicide!!!  The Suicide Wall  Table of Contents  Treatments  Treatment Compliance  US Disability  Veteran's Chat  What's New?