Omega-3s helped reduce psychoses in youth and treat psychiatric disorders in adults, and SAMe lowered aggressive behavior in schizophrenia, several new studies reveal.
In a psychiatric study, doctors said that omega-3s offer general health benefits without side effects and might also improve mental health. Researchers diagnosed 76 teens and young adults, aged 13 to 25, as likely to develop psychoses—disorders that include abnormal thinking, perception, delusions and hallucinations. Participants took 1,200 mg of omega-3s per day or a placebo, stopping after 12 weeks. Forty weeks later, 27 percent of those in the placebo group had developed a psychosis compared to 5 percent in the omega-3 group. Disorders in the omega-3 group progressed 82 percent more slowly than placebo, with participants reporting fewer symptoms and better mental functioning.
In an international review of omega-3 psychiatric studies, researchers found people in countries that consume less fish were 30 to 60 times more likely to have major depression, postpartum depression and bipolar disorders compared to those in countries that eat more fish. In a related review, studies linked depression with diets low in omega-3s, and linked depression and schizophrenia with low blood levels of omega-3s. Researchers said omega-3s appear to enhance the positive effect of psychotropic medications.
In a SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) study, 18 people with chronic schizophrenia took 800 mg of SAMe per day or a placebo. After eight weeks, while the placebo group had not improved, some in the SAMe group showed less aggressive behavior, reporting better quality of life and fewer symptoms of depression. Two people who took SAMe became more irritable. Researchers cautiously concluded that this short-term pilot study supports SAMe in managing aggressive behavior in schizophrenia.