Curr Top Med Chem. 2016 ;16(17):1897-905. PMID: 26845549
Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Management of Epilepsy.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with multiple double bonds. Linolenic and alpha-linolenic acids are omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs, precursors for the synthesis of long-chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs), such as arachidonic acid (omega-6 PUFA), and eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (omega-3 PUFAs). The three most important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, which cannot be synthesized in enough amounts by the body, and therefore they must be supplied by the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the correct functioning of the organism and participate in many physiological processes in the brain. Epilepsy is a common and heterogeneous chronic brain disorder characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures leading to neuropsychiatric disabilities. The prevalence of epilepsy is high achieving about 1% of the general population. There is evidence suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids may have neuroprotective and anticonvulsant effects and, accordingly, may have a potential use in the treatment of epilepsy. In the present review, the potential use of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of epilepsy, and the possible proposed mechanisms of action are discussed. The present article summarizes the recent knowledge of the potential protective role of dietary omega-3 fatty acids in epilepsy.