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Consuming a particular omega-6 fatty acid may prevent bipolar disorder

bipolar disorder

Did you know that what you eat could help prevent bipolar disorder? A new study has found that arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, may reduce the risk of bipolar disorder. This polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid is present in eggs, poultry, and seafood.

So, consuming enough of these foods and other polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids can help protect your newborn and unborn kids from bipolar.

Why kids? Why not you?

Well, although the cause of bipolar disorder is still a mystery, many studies suggest that it is highly heritable. Also, it is considered a neurodevelopmental disease, meaning that it starts long before you gain consciousness as an adult.

From the study, the researchers noted a pattern whereby individuals with genetically higher levels of lipids containing an arachidonic fatty acid side chain are less likely to have bipolar disorder. The findings also suggest the lower risk is because arachidonic acid is involved with neurodevelopmental pathways (i.e. brain development).

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

Arachidonic acid is present in human milk. It is also added to infant formula in many countries due to its importance in infant brain development. So, babies of mothers who do not have access to sufficient arachidonic omega-6 fatty acids may be at risk of bipolar disorder.

Thankfully, you can get enough of this bipolar-preventing fatty acid from eggs, meat, and seafood products.

Your body can also synthesize arachidonic acid from linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid obtained from plant-based sources like nuts, seeds, and oils. Perfect if you’re vegan. 

Rich plant-based sources of linoleic acid include sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. So you just need to add them in substantial amounts to your diet.

This is more evidence that you are what you eat. And your dietary choices can affect not just you but your unborn kids. You want to ensure your babies are getting the essential nutrients they need to develop not just physically but mentally as well.

So, let's start making healthier choices today.

More on the research here.

Need help?

At Hope Mental Health, we provide psychiatric care for Bipolar Disorder and many other mental illnesses in Boise & Meridian, Idaho, SLC & the Wasatch Front, Utah. Also serving OR, AZ, NV, WA & FL.

We’d love to help. Get in touch now.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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