Nutritional Components of Psychiatric Disease and Treatment Response

This study was initiated based on previous reports that diet may play a role in psychiatric illness. We sought to identify potential dietary pattern differences between individuals with bipolar disorder and non-affected controls, and to determine if any dietary patterns associate with better clinical outcomes in the bipolar population. We recruited 166 individuals (74 controls and 92 with bipolar illness) and asked them to keep a diet journal for 1 week. At the end of this period we also collected fasted blood samples for analysis.

This study revealed that, as a group, individuals with bipolar disorder ate significantly less polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are ‘healthy fats’ that come mostly from vegetable oils and fatty fish. We also found that metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids may be different in individuals with bipolar disorder, some of which is due to atypical antipsychotic medication use. Finally, we found that within bipolar individuals, those who ate more polyunsaturated fatty acids reported better sleep, lower depression and better general life functionality. These data are reported in a series of manuscripts (see below).

Fats and factors: lipid profiles associate with personality factors and suicidal history in bipolar subjects.

Association of plasma ω-3 and ω-6 lipids with burden of disease measures in bipolar subjects. 

Dietary intake and plasma metabolomic analysis of polyunsaturated fatty acids in bipolar subjects reveal dysregulation of linoleic acid metabolism. 

Plasma linoleic acid partially mediates the association of bipolar disorder on self-reported mental health scales.

This study has received approval from IRBMED: HUM00045652