9 doctors weighed in:

Do studies exist confirming use of fish oil for ADHD and bipolar?

9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kevin Passer
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
4 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

http://www.psycheducation.
org/depression/meds/omega-3.htm. There's a study about fish oil. Also, the japanese eat the highest proportion of fish in their diet and have a low incidence of bipolar disorder. In my experience, 3-4 grams per day is needed for a few months before one notices much improvement. Severe cases of bipolar respond less well.

In brief: Yes

http://www.psycheducation.
org/depression/meds/omega-3.htm. There's a study about fish oil. Also, the japanese eat the highest proportion of fish in their diet and have a low incidence of bipolar disorder. In my experience, 3-4 grams per day is needed for a few months before one notices much improvement. Severe cases of bipolar respond less well.
Dr. Kevin Passer
Dr. Kevin Passer
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2 comments
Dr. Pamela Pappas
What I've seen is a need for at least 1-2 grams/day of the EPA component in fish oil. In most preparations, some DHA is also present -- and that's good because it's also needed by the brain, heart, and vascular system. But studies with unipolar and bipolar depressions (and ADHD) need higher quantities of EPA. EPA is known to be more effective with inflammatory issues than DHA is. To come to the amount of EPA needed, the TOTAL amount of fish oil may well end up being 3-4 grams as you mention. Andrew Stoll's initial study used 9 grams/day of total fish oil, and I believe there were some severely ill Bipolar Disordered people in that group.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
And by the way -- thanks so much for providing that very helpful compilation of info @ http://www.psycheducation.org!
Dr. Scott Diede
Pediatrics - Hematology & Oncology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Very mixed data..

Some studies have shown some benefit, others have shown no benefit.
Most agree that fish oil should not be used as the only therapy, but in addition to more conventional treatments. Fish oil can potentially affect the body's ability to form clots, so it is recommended to stop it at least 2 weeks before any elective surgery or major dental procedure.

In brief: Very mixed data..

Some studies have shown some benefit, others have shown no benefit.
Most agree that fish oil should not be used as the only therapy, but in addition to more conventional treatments. Fish oil can potentially affect the body's ability to form clots, so it is recommended to stop it at least 2 weeks before any elective surgery or major dental procedure.
Dr. Scott Diede
Dr. Scott Diede
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Pamela Pappas
The different results may at least partially relate to what type of fish oil is being used -- some used only DHA, which did not show the effectiveness that oils high in EPA did. Dr. Passer provided an excellent resource compiling a lot of this information: http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/meds/Omega-3.htm
Dr. Scott Diede
Thanks for the excellent resource. I was focusing on the ADHD data out there that seems to be somewhat limiting.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes, BUT

There are now multiple studies confirming use of fish oil in people with adhd and bipolar disorder.
However, the studies show positive results with formulations high in epa but not with those high only in dha. (both epa & dha are components of fish oil that you can read on the label). Use a brand that's distilled to remove contaminants, and with a ratio of at least 2 epa/dha in least # of caps.

In brief: Yes, BUT

There are now multiple studies confirming use of fish oil in people with adhd and bipolar disorder.
However, the studies show positive results with formulations high in epa but not with those high only in dha. (both epa & dha are components of fish oil that you can read on the label). Use a brand that's distilled to remove contaminants, and with a ratio of at least 2 epa/dha in least # of caps.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Steven Charlap
The studies in children showed minimal benefits or were inconclusive. Better to get omega-3s from wild fish like Alaskan salmon
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