New ground breaking research in Australia shows a daily dose of fish oil will speed up the recovery rate of patients who have recently developed a psychotic illness by around 25 per cent.
The study also suggests patients who receive fish oil increase their level of glutathione, the main antioxidant in the brain, by up to 35 per cent, which in turn improves symptoms in young patients with first-episode psychosis.
The 12-week study, carried out by Dr Berger Gregor and Dr Stephen Wood from ORYGEN Youth Health and the University of Melbourne, enlisted 80 young people who had recently been diagnosed with psychosis to assess the benefits of a daily dose of fish oil. According to Dr Stephen Wood, a senior research fellow with ORYGEN and Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, the study demonstrates, through tangible brain-imaging research, the benefits of fish oil in the treatment of mental illness.
“While many clinical trials have suggested that fish oil improves outcomes for mentally ill patients this is the first time that we have been able to measure the actual changes in brain chemistry. These changes in the brain have now been clearly associated with an improvement in symptoms and a faster recovery time. For the first time we have been able to show a link between increasing levels of glutathione and recovery from psychosis,” he said.
“The study also suggests that oxidative stress may play a role in the disorder itself, which opens up a whole new area of research into this disabling illness.”
The new study, which is soon to be published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, is the latest good news story regarding the benefits of fish oil. In December 2007 clinical trials also undertaken by ORYGEN Research Centre showed fish oil helps delay or prevent the onset of psychosis.
ORYGEN has also recently announced that it will take a lead role in a new study involving 320 participants across Australia, UK and Europe to further test the effectiveness of fish oil in the treatment of psychotic illness.