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Omega-3 in fish oil could reduce risk of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses


A new study published in Nature Communications finds that omega-3 supplements could significantly reduce the risk of developing psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. In a 2012 survey, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the natural supplement was popular among children and adults.omega-3-fish-oil

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the essential components of cell membranes of the body and helps in the production of hormones. Recently, a study found that Americans spend around $1.3 billion on supplements and oil pills. The study is a follow-up to a 2010 study on how omega-3 influenced the development of psychotic disorders.

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“We were surprised that the effect at the long-term follow-up was exceeding the results at 12 months,” said G. Paul Amminger, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Amminger and his team evaluated the effects of omega-3s in a group of young people aged 13-25 who were at the risk of developing psychotic disorders. During a 12-week intervention, 41 participants got the omega-3s and 41 got placebo. Researchers found that only 10 percent of people who received fish oil got schizophrenia, and 40 percent did so in the placebo group. After seven years fro the original study, most of the individuals who took fish oil did not show any signs of disorder.

Prof. Amminger said that schizophrenia is a major cause of disability, but early treatment has been linked to better outcomes. The study is expected to pave the way for alternatives to antipsychotic medication. Amminger added that some epidemiological studies point to a link between eating more fish and reduced symptoms of psychosis and depression. The study also found that participants in the study had lower levels of fats, when compared to teens without these risk factors. Last year, a study found that fish oil could reduce seizures in epilepsy patients.

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