First study to show a positive effect of this supplement on serious mental illness.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown for the first time to reduce the long-term risk of developing psychotic disorders.
The conclusion comes from a study of 13-25 year-olds in Australia.
The young people in the study were all deemed at risk of developing psychotic disorders later in life.
Half took a 3-month course of omega-3 and the remainder took a placebo.
They were originally followed up for over a year.
In the omega-3 group only 2 of 41 young people had developed a psychotic disorder in comparison to 11 of 41 in the placebo group.
In the study’s latest instalment, the two groups have been followed up 7 years later.
The results are still encouraging.
Just four people originally in the omega-3 group have gone on to develop a psychotic disorder in the intervening 7 years.
In the control group, 16 have developed a psychotic disorder since the study began.
Early treatment of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia is key.
This study provides one way to help some people who are at high-risk to avoid anti-psychotic medication, which has considerable side-effects.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications (Amminger et al., 2015).
By Jeremy Dean at PsyBlog