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The Effect of DHA Supplementation on Cognition in Patients with Bipolar Disorder: An Exploratory Randomized Control Trial

Valentina Ciappolino, Giuseppe DelVecchio, Cecilia Prunas, Angela Andreella, Livio Finos, Elisabetta Caletti, Francesca Siri, Alessandra Mazzocchi, Andrea Botturi, Stefano Turolo, Carlo Agostoni, Paolo Brambilla
Nutrients 2020 v.12 no.3 pp. -
bipolar disorder, cognition, cognitive disorders, corn oil, docosahexaenoic acid, neuropsychological tests, nutrients, patients, placebos, randomized clinical trials
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe mental disorder with a wide range of cognitive deficits, both in the euthymic and acute phase of the disease. Interestingly, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in investigating the impact of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on cognition in BD. In this context, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6 ω-3, DHA) supplementation on cognitive performances in euthymic BD patients. This is an exploratory, single-centre, double-blind randomized controlled trial evaluating 12 weeks DHA supplementation (1250 mg daily) vs. a placebo (corn oil) in 31 euthymic BD patients compared to 15 healthy controls (HCs) on cognitive functions, assessed by the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Affective Disorder (BAC-A). Plasma levels of DHA were measured. After 12 weeks of treatment, no significant group differences were observed in all neuropsychological tests between the four groups, except for the emotion inhibition test, where HCs with DHA had higher scores compared to either BD with DHA (z = 3.9, p = 0.003) or BD with placebo (t = 3.7, p = 0.005). Although our results showed that DHA could be effective for ameliorating cognition in healthy subjects, future studies are still needed to clarify the impact of DHA on cognition in BD.