Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids obtained primarily in fish and fish oil. For the past 2 decades they have been studied for the treatment of various psychiatric disorders, primarily mood disorders such as major depression and bipolar disorder, as well as for other conditions. While the studies as a whole support omega-3s as effective, particularly in unipolar depression, there is much heterogeneity in the published studies, which makes interpretation of the data difficult. Omega-3 fatty acids are generally well tolerated and safe.
In this lecture, Dr. Mischoulon will review the evidence base for omega-3 fatty acids in various psychiatric disorders, including potential mechanisms of action, and side effects. After the lecture, clinicians should understand appropriate recommendations to make to their patients with regard to whether and when to use omega-3s for treating their psychiatric condition.