Dietary supplements may help prevent psychosis

July 4, 2022

A double-blind study in Austria has shown that supplements of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) can lead to substantial benefits for young people at high risk for psychosis. The study showed that after taking PUFAs for three months only 9.8% of intervention youth had developed a psychotic disorder, compared with 40 % of controls.

This benefit was found despite fewer intervention youth than controls being prescribed antipsychotic medications by follow-up (29.4% vs. 54.3%, respectively). As well, intervention youth reported fewer psychotic symptoms and better overall functioning than controls. They were also less likely to meet diagnostic criteria for other mental disorders, including mood, anxiety and substance use disorders (52.9% vs. 82.9%, respectively). How might PUFAs work? The study authors admitted uncertainty, but speculated that PUFAs may prevent brain changes that could contribute to psychosis. For more information on psychosis, see Vol. 14, No. 3 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.