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Fish oil tablets could prevent psychosis in young people at-risk

We previously posted about that fish oils may prevent psychosis in at-risk young people. Following this research, the research has been published and publicised. 

Professor Paul Amminger, University of Melbourne, conducted this study involving three month course of daily fish oil tablets. Seven years on they revisited 71 of the 81 participants involved and the protective effects persisted as only 4 of the 41 who took the fish oil tablets developed psychosis compared to 16 of out 40 who were in the placebo condition. This demonstrated a significant reduction in the rate of psychotic disorders in these young people 7 years later. Interestingly, those in the placebo arm appeared to develop psychosis more quickly than those taking fish oil tablets and had a greater likelihood of developing other mental health disorders.

However, this research was criticised as they involved only a small number of young people (81) so research needs to involve a larger group of individuals. Therefore, these latest findings need to be replicated in larger groups of people before any firm guidance can be given.

Professor Amminger suggested that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) could be a stigma-free, long-term method to prevent psychosis in young people at risk with little side effects. Easy access to fish oil tablets over the counter and easy ability to change eating habits e.g. including more fish and omega-3 fatty acids within the diet, may give young people a safe and accessible way to take care of their mental health.

By: Abigail Christine Wright
Last updated: Tuesday, 25 August 2015