What role does diet plays in the treatment of bipolar disorder?

May 4, 2024  18:15

When a person suffers from bipolar disorder, they are overcome by alternating extreme emotional highs and lows.

This condition can seriously affect a person's functioning, with highs characterised by an unrealistic sense of invincibility and lows by debilitating depression.

The causes of bipolar disorder can vary, but it is thought that the condition may be linked to genetic factors.

A new study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry provides evidence that bipolar disorder may be, at least in part, a product of low levels of arachidonic acid, and arachidonic lipids promote healthy cells.

Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. Lipids are fatty or waxy and water insoluble substances in the body responsible for a variety of key functions.

Researchers have found that higher levels of arachidonic acid correlate with a lower incidence of bipolar disorder.

Using publicly available data from 14,296 Europeans, the study authors screened 913 circulating metabolites for association with bipolar disorder and identified 33 that are associated with the condition.

Importantly, the study found that the associations of lipids with bipolar disorder were due to genetic variants in the FADS1/2/3 gene cluster.

This gene is known to be an area of strong risk factor for bipolar disorder and is responsible for converting linoleic acid to arachidonic acid.

Arachidonic acid is found in foods and human milk, suggesting that dietary intervention may help reduce the frequency and intensity of bipolar disorder.

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