An Australian study has found that fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids may stop young people from developing schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a psychotic condition that is characterized by hallucinations and delusions.
Researchers from the Orygen Research Centre in Melbourne conducted an experiment. The study found that 3% of 40 people aged 13 to 24 and previous sufferers of hallucinations and delusions developed schizophrenia one year after taking capsules of fish oil over a period of three months.
The experiment also involved 40 patients of the same age and with similar psychotic conditions. They were given a placebo or ‘dummy’ fish oil capsule for three months. Around 28% of them developed schizophrenia.
The lead researcher of the experiment, Professor Paul Amminger said that their study makes fish oil “a serious treatment for people seen most likely to develop psychotic illness.”
Amminger also said that fish oil is a safe alternative to anti-psychotic drugs which reduce the rate of developing schizophrenia in ‘at-risk’ people, but have side-effects such as weight gain and increased risk of heart disease.
The findings of this study will be presented by Amminger before the World Psychiatry Association Conference in Melbourne. Further, a larger trial to reinforce the findings is also planned.
Omega-3 oils have been found to treat depression, bipolar disorder, rheumatism, heart disease, cancer, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and autism. It has also been known to calm aggressive prisoners.