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Fish oil good for mental health - studies


Taking fish oil supplements or eating fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent the development of psychotic disorders or psychosis in people at extremely high risk of the illness, according to a new study in the Feb 2010 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Of the subjects given fish oil capsules with long -chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for 12 weeks, 4.9 percent developed psychotic disorder compared to 27.5 percent in the placebo group, the study found.

For the study, G. Paul Amminger, M.D., of Medical University of Vienna, Austria, and Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia randomly assigned fish oil capsules containing 1.2 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or a placebo to 81 people at extremely high risk who had mild psychotic symptoms, transient psychosis or a family history of this disorder.

The researchers estimated that for one person to be spared from developing psychosis over a 12-week period, four people need to take omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish oil also reduced symptoms and improved functioning compared with the placebo, the study found.

There is no serious side effect associated with use of omega-3 fatty acids.

The findings are considered significant as drugs causes many side effects and may not be as effective as desired.

Early studies have found low levels of omega-3 are associated with clinically significant conditions such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse and attention deficit disorder.

Dr. Janet Wozniak and colleagues of Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated a fish oil supplement high in EPA omega-3 fatty acid reduced manic systems in youths with BPD.

The study of 20 boys ages 6 to 17 years published in European Neuropsychopharmacology in February 2007 found half of the subjects experienced 30 percent reduction in symptoms with no side effects.


By David Liu