Low omega-3 levels combined with a higher risk of psychosis


New research has found that adolescents with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are less likely to develop psychotic disorders in early adulthood, suggesting that this could have a potential preventative effect to reduce the risk of psychosis.

The study, led by researchers from the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, was published in Translational Psychiatry.

Over 3,800 people in Bristol’s Children of the 90s health study were screened for psychotic disorders, depressive disorders, and generalized anxiety disorders, ages 17 and 24.

During these tests, blood samples were taken and the researchers measured the levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which generally increase inflammation in the body, and omega-3 fatty acids, which generally reduce inflammation.

While there was little evidence that fatty acids were associated with mental disorders by the age of 17, researchers found that 24-year-olds with psychotic disorders, depressive disorders, and generalized anxiety disorders had higher levels of omega than them. 6- as omega-3 fatty acids without these disorders.

The researchers also found that 24-year-olds with psychotic disorders had lower levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid typically found in oily fish or supplements, than 24-year-olds without psychotic disorder. In a group of over 2,700 people followed over time, adolescents with higher levels of DHA developed a 56% lower chance of developing a psychotic disorder by age 17 at age 24 at risk of psychosis by 56% lower early adulthood.

These results remained consistent when other factors such as gender, body mass index, tobacco smoking, and socioeconomic status were taken into account.

“The study has to be repeated, but if the results are consistent, these results would suggest that increased dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids in adolescents, for example from oily fish like mackerel, might discourage some people from their early age develop psychosis. “twenty,” said Professor David Cotter, lead author on the study and professor of molecular psychiatry at RCSI.

“The results could also raise questions about the relationship between the development of mental disorders and omega-6 fatty acids, which are typically found in vegetable oils.”

David Mongan, RCSI PhD student and Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Fellow, analyzed the data under the supervision of Professor David Cotter and Professor Mary Cannon of the RCSI Department of Psychiatry. The ICAT program is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Board, the Health Service Executive National Doctors Training and Planning and the Health and Social Care, Research and Development Division, Northern Ireland.

“We need to do more research to understand more about the mechanisms behind this effect, but it could potentially be related to reducing inflammation or reducing inappropriate clipping of brain connections during adolescence,” said Dr. David Mongan, the study’s lead author, who is a psychiatrist intern and PhD student at RCSI.


This research was supported in part by a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research grant and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. The UK Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol supported the Children of the 1990s, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The data collection used in this research was jointly funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

About the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

The RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is a leading global university for health and wellbeing. It ranks second in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021 for its contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 and focuses exclusively on education and research to drive improvements in human health around the world.

RCSI is an international not-for-profit university based in Dublin. In the World University Rankings (2021) she is among the 250 best universities in the world and her research ranks first in Ireland in terms of citations. RCSI has received Athena Swan Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.

Visit the RCSI MyHealth Expert Directory to find the details of our experts on a range of health issues and concerns. These clinicians and researchers are aware of their responsibility to share their knowledge and discoveries in order to provide people with information that will guide them to better health and are ready to engage with the media in their area of ​​expertise.

About 90s kids

Children of the 90s, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), is a long-term health research project run by the University of Bristol that has involved more than 14,000 pregnant women in 1991 and 1992 and has since followed the health and development of parents and their children at the Detail and is currently recruiting the children and siblings of the original children for the study. It receives core funding from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol.

Learn more at http://www.childrenofthe90s.ac.uk

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