Scientific evidence supports the utility of both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in behavioral and psychiatric disorders. However, the mechanisms by which these two micronutrients exert their effects are not completely understood. A recent study published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology suggests that serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for many cognitive functions including mood, behavior and decision-making, is affected by omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. The investigators demonstrated that vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin while omega-3 fatty acids increase presynaptic serotonin release and serotonin accessibility to its receptor, thereby increasing serotonin production and activity. How often do you discuss with your patients the need for omega-3 fatty acids/vitamin D supplementation? Have you noticed clinical improvements in patients with behavioral/psychiatric disorders who use these nutrients?
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