Taking fish oil could make a big difference in outcomes for people who are at high risk of developing mental illness, a new study has found.
The research was published in the journal Nature Communications. It examined a population of high-risk individuals who were between 13 and 25 years old, and who had began exhibiting signs of mental illness, or who had a strong family history of the disease. Participants were given fish oil tablets for 12 weeks, while a control group was given a placebo.
Prior to the study, researchers estimated that the youths in the group had a 35 to 40 percent chance of developing a mental illness. Seven years after the study, 40 percent of people who recieved a placebo had a psychotic disorder, while only 10 percent of people who recieved fish oil had developed psychosis. More than half of the placebo group was on antipsychotic medication, compared to 29% of the fish oil group.
Fish oil has long been associated with positive outcomes for treating mental illness, and the new study gave hope that “there may be alternatives to psychopharmacological treatment asearly interventions in young people at risk for psychosis,” the authors wrote.