Up to seven years after taking omega-3 supplements for 12 weeks, young people at “ultra-high” risk were less likely to have suffered the debilitating condition than a control group given a placebo, reported the study. And almost 7 in 10 will develop other psychiatric disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder and substance dependency.
Schizophrenia is characterised by delusions and hallucinations, including hearing voices and seeing things that do not really exist.
Schizophrenia typically emerges during adolescence or early adulthood, either abruptly or gradually. Current treatment focuses on managing symptoms.
During the past two decades, scientists and clinicians have become increasingly interested in detecting and intervening in individuals who exhibit the early symptoms of schizophrenia. The authors explain that a recent meta-analysis of 2,502 at-risk individuals found that the cumulative rate of transition to psychosis increased over time, with 18%, 22%, 29% and 36% developing a psychotic disorder by 6 months, 1, 2 and 3 years, respectively7. Fish oil supplements sometimes cause fishy burps, but they appear to be very safe, and the Omega-3 fatty acids they contain are thought to help maintain cardiovascular and eye health as well. Therefore, the researchers theorized that schizophrenia is partly due to brain inflammation.
Forbes Magazine elaborates that the study has evaluated 81 subjects with varying ages from 13 to 25 who have higher risks of acquiring a mental disorder and have asked them to consume either fish oil capsules or placebo capsules.
The new research is the first to document rigorously the impact of fish oil supplements as a means of preventing severe psychiatric disease.
But the researchers stopped short of recommending that all at-risk individuals start taking the fatty acid, available as a non-prescription supplement and in many foods, including salmon, sardines and walnuts. Others were fearful that someone was trying to hurt them, but these feelings were transient.
Roughly seven years later, researchers found clear differences in outcomes between the two groups.
“Moreover, antipsychotic drugs tend to have serious side effects, including weight gain and sexual dysfunction”. Only 10 percent of the fish oil omega-3 group developed psychosis compared to 40 percent in the placebo group.