Here’s more evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may help lessen depression, at least in mice. And it may also reduce the creatures’ alcohol cravings.
Investigators at the Indiana University School of Medicine studied the effects of giving DHA, one of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, to mice bred to have bipolar disorder (the animals are depressed except when stressed – then they become manic).
The researchers reported that the addition of DHA appeared to normalize their behavior. They no longer exhibited signs of depression, and they didn’t become manic with stress. Surprisingly, the study also found that fish oil reduced cravings for alcohol among the mice. Those on DHA drank much less alcohol than the untreated mice.
The research team noted that, just like many bipolar humans, bipolar mice seek to treat themselves with alcohol. Later, when the investigators examined the mice brains, they found that genes known to be targets of psychiatric medications were “modulated and normalized by DHA”. The study was published online on May 24, 2011 by Translational Psychiatry.