This review article gathers evidence on the potential relationship between dietary intake of ω3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3 PUFAs) and mental function. Several pieces of evidence that ω3 PUFAs influence affective and cognitive function are presented.
Although published data and results available in the field remain limited and sometimes ambiguous, they have shed a new light on the role of proper diet in general, ω3 PUFAs in particular, in many mental disorders and dysfunctions, including depression and cognitive decline in aging. The analysis of the influence of fatty acids on human health allows us to formulate a new, more holistic approach to both prevention and treatment of psychological disorders and dysfunctions. What is more, it appears that ω3 PUFAs have a beneficial influence on mental function in healthy people as well.
The currently available data concerning the influence of fatty acids on behaviour and mental function are still insufficient and suffer so far from lack of standard determination of background, intermediairy and endpoint omega-6/3 ratios in plasma lipids of patients involved in both epidemiological and intervention studies. There is a great need for further refined trials in the field.