For years, fish oil was found highly effective in enhancing cognitive and motor functions, but only recently a comprehensive study has shown that it can even prevent the development of serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and severe depression.
A team of researchers found that taking a daily dose of Omega 3 supplements may lower the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders by up to 30 percent especially in adult years. Omega 3 is a natural fatty acid found in the fat of various fish including salmon, mackerel, and tuna. But the highest amount you can get is to be found in Omega 3 capsules and plain fish oil.
Researchers reported that they have been studying two groups of young adults with a history of mental illness for seven years. They learned that the group which took a recommended daily dose of Omega-3 for 12 weeks had a significantly lower risk of developing schizophrenia in their adult years. Their risk of other psychiatric disorders was also considerably lower than that of the group that took only a placebo.
Yet, this latest study is not the only one to find a link between Omega 3 and improved brain functions. Other research papers had revealed that the fatty acid can boost the effect of antidepressants and anti-ADHD medications, and it can cure post-partum depression in new moms.
For years, doctors have recommended their pregnant patients to take Omega 3 supplements after delivery to significantly reduce their after-birth depressive episodes.
The latest study, which was published this week in Nature Communications, is the first to find that Omega 3 can also prevent young adults from developing schizophrenia or other debilitating mental illnesses.
All study participants were 13 to 25 years old and had a history of mental illness. Either they themselves had a diagnosis or their close relatives were diagnosed with a mental illness that had already taken its toll on their social life.
Some of the participants reported that they had delusional thinking or hallucinations. Mental health experts explain that in such cases there is a 35 to 40 percent chance of developing schizophrenia, or a 70 percent chance of being affected by severe depression, substance abuse, or bipolar disorders.
Some of the study participants were asked to take Omega 3 supplementation containing 700 milligrams of EPA and 480 milligrams of DHA for three months every year for seven years. Other participants were given a placebo.
After seven years, the research team noticed that only 10 percent of those taking the fatty acid developed a mental illness including schizophrenia, while those in the control group developed such condition in 40 percent of cases.
Image Source: Earth medicine