Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown for the first time to reduce the long-term risk of developing psychotic disorders.
The conclusion comes from a study of 13-25 year-olds in Australia.
The young people in the study were all deemed at risk of developing psychotic disorders later in life.
Half took a 3-month course of omega-3 and the remainder took a placebo.
They were originally followed up for over a year.
In the omega-3 group only 2 of 41 young people had developed a psychotic disorder in comparison to 11 of 41 in the placebo group.
In the study’s latest instalment, the two groups have been followed up 7 years later.
The results are still encouraging.
Just four people originally in the omega-3 group have gone on to develop a psychotic disorder in the intervening 7 years.
In the control group, 16 have developed a psychotic disorder since the study began.
Early treatment of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia is key.
This study provides one way to help some people who are at high-risk to avoid anti-psychotic medication, which has considerable side-effects.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications (Amminger et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
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