Can omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent relapse in bipolar II disorder?

In bipolar disorder, one complementary treatment that has received a lot of interest is omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils. These are found naturally in plant and marine life but fish oil supplements can also be purchased in capsule form over-the-counter (without prescription) from the pharmacy or some supermarkets.

The latest Australian guidelines for bipolar disorders (I and II) mention evidence showing that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce symptoms of depression when used with medication. However, omega-3 fatty acids do not appear to help reduce symptoms of hypomania.

When it comes to preventing relapse, there is still not enough evidence to know if adding omega-3 fatty acids to medication helps to prevent relapse in BPII.

Current guidelines do not make recommendations about omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment option for preventing relapse in BPII or complementary treatment. If you are taking omega-3 fatty acids or are interested in taking them, discuss this with your GP or psychiatrist.