Omega-6 fatty acids may reduce the risk of serious disorders

The role of arachidonic acid in the protection of the individual

The omega-6 fatty acids commonly found in eggs, poultry and seafood, may reduce the risk bipolar disorderAccording to the first worldwide study by the University of South Australia.

Using Mendelian randomization, a powerful method of causality, the researchers examined 913 metabolites in 14,296 Europeans and found that 33 of them (mostly lipids) were associated with bipolar disorder risk.

Bipolar disorder is a debilitating mood disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Although the cause is still unclear, previous studies have shown that bipolar disorder is highly heritable. If one parent has bipolar disorder, the child has a 10% chance of developing it.

One in eight people worldwide live with a mental illness, with nearly 40 million people experiencing bipolar disorder. Almost 3% of Australians (568,000 over 16s) live with bipolar disorder.

Lead researcher Dr David Stacey says the new evidence paves the way for new potential lifestyle or dietary interventions.

“There is increasing evidence that metabolites play a key role in bipolar and other psychiatric disorders,” says Dr. Stacey.

“This is extremely promising because if we can find factors that correlate with certain health conditions, we can identify ways to reverse them with possible lifestyle or dietary interventions,” he said.

“In this study, we found that a genetic predisposition to high levels of lipids containing arachidonic acid led to a lower risk of bipolar disorder. And conversely, lower levels of arachidonic acid were associated with a higher risk of bipolar disorder,” he said.

“Arachidonic acid can be obtained directly from meat and seafood or synthesized from linoleic acid (nuts, seeds and oil). But it is also found in breast milk, so it is considered important for the development of the baby’s brain,” he added. : “In fact, in many countries, arachidonic acid is added to baby food as the best start in a child’s life. So there is definitely potential to increase this through supplementation for people at high risk of bipolar disorder.”

However, the problem, he says, is that while we know that arachidonic acid is involved in early brain development, it’s not clear whether supplementation for bipolar disorder should be administered perinatally, in the early years of life, or whether it benefits people who have already been diagnosed.

Professor Elina Hyppönen, co-author of the study, says that preclinical studies and randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the preventive or therapeutic value of arachidonic acid supplements for treating bipolar disorder.

“Further studies are needed to rigorously evaluate the potential of arachidonic acid supplementation in the prevention and treatment of bipolar disorder, particularly in individuals at genetic risk. Although our findings support potential opportunities for precise early nutritional health interventions for infant brain development, we need to learn more about the association with bipolar disorder.” “If we can determine how, why and when people respond to arachidonic acid supplementation, we will be one step closer to helping people struggling with this serious and lifelong mental health condition,” he said.

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