Up to 30% of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) do not respond to antidepressant medication, while other patients show only a partial response, underscoring the need for effective treatment alternatives for MDD. Rather than looking toward novel pharmacologic therapies, however, increasing evidence suggests that dietary lipids may be a worthy focus. A growing body of research highlights the role of lipids in mental health in general and MDD specifically.
“We know that a large portion of the brain is composed of lipids, and that the ratio of these different lipids can have a significant impact on brain function,” said Robert K. McNamara, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and director of the Lipidomics Research Program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who has investigated the topic extensively. “This is particularly important during early development when the brain is undergoing rapid growth and tightly synchronized changes in neural connections,” he told Psychiatry Advisor.