For some years, there has been a strong interest in the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on behavior. Some studies have found that increasing omega-3s, while decreasing omega-6 intake, alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety. But beyond those conditions, omega-3s may provide an effective natural medicine for impulsiveness, aggression, and other attributes of borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Serotonin has an inhibiting effect on impulsive behavior, and EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids stimulate serotonin release and receptor accessibility on cellular membranes, respectively. This explains why these compounds have shown to be helpful in the past for cognitive abilities and more “prosocial” behavior.
Aside from aspects of BPD, omega-3 fatty acids may help those with other impulsivity issues, including uncontrolled gambling, attention deficit disorders, and childhood impatience and hostility, to name a few.
Bellino S, Bozzatello P, Badino C, Mantelli E, Rocca P. Efficacy of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) on Impulsive Behaviors and Aggressiveness in Psychiatric Disorders. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jan 9;22(2):620.
It is the focus of increasing interest to investigate the effects of long-chain n-3 and long-chain n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFAs; LC n-6 PUFAs) on psychiatric symptoms in a transdiagnostic perspective. There is some evidence that low levels of LC n-3 PUFAs and a higher ratio of LC n-6 to LC n-3 PUFAs in plasma and blood cells are associated with aggressive and impulsive behaviors. Therefore, implementation of LC n-3 PUFAs may produce positive effects on hostility, aggression, and impulsivity in both psychiatric and non-psychiatric samples across different stages of life. A possible mechanism of action of LC n-3 PUFAs in conditions characterized by a high level of impulsivity and aggression is due to the effect of these compounds on the serotonin system and membrane stability. Studies that evaluated the effects of LC n-3 PUFAs on impulsivity and aggressiveness indicated that addition of rather low doses of these agents to antipsychotic treatment might reduce agitation and violent behaviors in psychosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, personality disorders, and impulsive control and conduct disorders. The present review is aimed at examining and discussing available data from recent trials on this topic.
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