Psychosis, schizophrenia: a three-month course of omega-3 drops the risks

Omega-3, unsaturated fatty acids found in fish such as salmon or sardines, help reduce the risk of psychosis such as schizophrenia in adolescents and young adults. A cure lasting 3 months per year would be sufficient to greatly reduce the risk of psychosis. We know that omega-3s are essential for the proper development and functions of the nervous system and the brain.

This study by Australian and Austrian researchers was published in the specialist journal Nature Communications.

A 30% decrease in psychoses

This study involved 81 participants aged between 13 and 25 years. All had one or more risk factors for psychosis, including mild symptoms, existing psychosis, or genetic risk. 41 participants received an omega-3 preparation from fish oil daily for 3 months and 40 received a placebo.

The researchers were able to analyze the results of 71 out of 81 participants over an average duration of 6.7 years. In other words, for almost 7 years, the scientists were able to observe the participants, in particular their possible signs of psychosis. The results showed that in the omega-3 group (those who received the omega-3 capsules) 10% suffered from psychosis compared to 40% in the placebo group. This 30% difference is very significant.

A three month treatment

These results confirm previous studies carried out by the Medical University of Vienna, which participated in this research work. A previous study had shown a preventive effect of omega-3s over a participant observation period of 12 months.

As can be seen, a treatment of 3 months per year seems sufficient to greatly limit psychoses in young people. Omega-3 preparations often promise to cure or prevent many diseases, but the scientific evidence is sometimes inconclusive. In any case, this does not seem to be the case in the prevention of psychoses.

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Amminger GP: Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8934.


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