DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Image credit: 3dchem.com On the heals of the report that medical professionals may be able to spot and treat schizophrenia before it manifests, comes news of hope for a natural preventative to psychosis. The natural substance is legal and can be purchased in pill form as a supplement at most general stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and specialty stores. It can also be found in many foods.
Fish oil capsules.
Previous studies have shown that persons with schizophrenia tend to
have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Still other research suggests
that omega-3 fatty acids are helpful in lessening the symptoms of
But Dr. G. Paul Amminger of the
University of Vienna, Austria, and his colleagues wanted to see if daily supplements of omega-3 might actually stave off psychosis. They studied a group of 81 teens, average age of 16, who were at high risk for becoming psychotic within a year. Forty-one members of the group were given high omega-3 fatty-acid-rich fish oil capsules for 12 weeks; 40 other members of the group were given placebos for an equal period of time.
During the following year, 11 of the 40-member placebo group developed a psychotic disorder. In the fish oil group, only 2 members succumbed to psychosis. This lead the researchers to believe that one in four psychoses might be prevented by the fish oil supplements.
The researchers were left with several questions to be answered by further research. For example, would omega-3 supplements have the same effects on older persons as they did on teens? Could omega-3 supplements be used to treat persons who already have psychotic disorders? How long would the effect of the supplements last... and so on.
The results of this University of Vienna study may not be conclusive, but the natural supplements held psychosis at bay for longer than any other type of intervention had previously, including psychiatric drugs. And there are no nasty side effects from fish oil.
Editor's Note: Fish oil capsules are available at most grocery and health food stores. On Amazon, the most reviewed and highly rated supplment containing fish oil is Carlson Lab's Cod Liver Oil. It's gotten a perfect five star score from hundreds of reviewers.
via BBC News, WebMD