Two researchers from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, writing in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, reviewed the evidence linking serotonin regulation to various types of psychiatric disorders. They then proposed what the biological mechanisms might be for how Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D influence “serotonin synthesis, release, and function in the brain.”
According to a press release, the study illustrated how vitamin D “regulates the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin.” The study also identified how constituents of Omega-3s increase serotonin release from presynaptic neurons by reducing inflammatory signaling molecules in the brain that can inhibit serotonin release.
“This publication suggests that optimizing intakes of vitamin D, EPA, and DHA would optimize brain serotonin concentrations and function, possibly preventing and ameliorating some of the symptoms associated with these disorders without side effects,” stated the press release.
Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D may control brain serotonin, affecting behavior and psychiatric disorders (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland press release on ScienceDaily, February 25, 2015)
Patrick, Rhonda P., and Bruce N. Ames. “Vitamin D and the Omega-3 Fatty Acids Control Serotonin Synthesis and Action, Part 2: Relevance for ADHD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and Impulsive Behavior.” The FASEB Journal, February 24, 2015, fj.14–268342. doi:10.1096/fj.14-268342. (Abstract)