and omega-3 supplements as treatment options for mood disorders have been
studied separately in small studies, but this is the first time researchers are
studying the combination as a treatment option.
is an effective form of treatment, but these alternatives might replace or reduce
medication dosages with the same benefit, and have fewer side effects,” said Dr. L. Eugene Arnold, an Ohio State University Medical Center child
psychiatrist. According to Arnold, who is also a nationally recognized expert in alternative and
complementary treatments, the side effects of anti-depressants can cause an
increase in suicidal tendencies or thoughts. Medication used to treat bipolar
disorder can cause weight gain and lead to metabolic disorders.
Children involved in the study receive either psychotherapy, an
omega-3 supplement, both psychotherapy and a supplement, or are placed in a
placebo group. Although improvement is expected in all four groups, researchers
predict the group receiving both psychotherapy and omega-3 will see the most
significant improvement in their symptoms.
In psychotherapy, parents and their children learn how to
manage symptoms and regulate emotions. Families also are taught how to navigate
the mental health system for support and learn communication skills to help cope
with the disorder.
research suggests the need for a balanced diet of omega-6 and omega-3
fatty acids. Today’s diet contains 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3, a
ratio that Arnold says makes the brain function like a high performance car
with low octane gas.
omega-6 substituted for omega-3, it will run, but it will not work as well,”
to Arnold, “In recent years, research has shown an increase in omega-3 fatty
acids in the diet has many health benefits. In addition to possibly helping
children’s mood disorders, we could be improving general health and helping to
prevent cardiovascular, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”
are different from adults metabolically and psychologically, and need studies
focused on their age group exclusively, says Arnold. Alternative treatments
have not previously been studied in children with depression under 12 or bipolar
NOS (not otherwise specified) in children under 10. Arnold and Fristad suggest starting
children in psychotherapy at a young age may give them the coping strategies
they need as an adult.
studies are funded by the National Institute for Mental Health. A total of 60
children are needed for each study. Half of the children receive therapy and all
receive capsules, either Omega-3 or placebo, free of charge, along with careful
monitoring and the support needed to continue their treatment.
learn more, contact the study coordinator at (614) 293-4908 or Kayden.Healy@osumc.edu.
# # #
Click here to view Dr. Fristad talking
about the importance of the study.
Click here to view Dr. Arnold discussing
just a few of the benefits of being involved in a clinical trial.
Contact: Gina Bericchia, Medical
Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, (614) 293-3737 or Gina.Bericchia@osumc.edu