October 23, 2021

Biology Reporter

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Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of psychosis

Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of psychosis

Adolescents with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are less likely to develop psychotic disorders in early adulthood, transitional psychiatry reports. According to researchers, omega-3 fatty acids may be a potential protective factor for the risk of developing psychosis in young adults.

The study was conducted by a team of scientists from the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ireland. More than 3.8 thousand people were recruited to it. Subjects and their health status in terms of psychotic disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders at ages 17 and 24.

Blood samples were taken for the study – thanks to them, scientists measured the level of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the tested organisms. Omega-6 fatty acids are associated with health risks – they increase the risk of inflammation and resulting diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many types of cancer. In turn, omega-3 fatty acids are associated with the correct course of various life processes, they support, among other things, the work of the heart and blood circulation is also associated with an increase in the level of “good” cholesterol (HDL), while reducing the level of “bad cholesterol” (LDH) in the blood .

Although scientists didn’t have much evidence to link the amount of fatty acids in the body to the risk of developing different types of psychotic disorders, they did find that 24-year-olds with this type of disorder had higher levels of omega-6 than omega-6. . 3 in the body. Compared to people who work properly.

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The researchers also found that 24-year-olds with psychotic disorders had lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid, known as DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, generally referred to as “the good fat.” This acid is usually found in fatty fish or dietary supplements. Adolescents with higher levels of DHA at age 17 were 56 percent. Less likely to develop psychotic disorders after seven years, at age 24. According to the researchers, this may indicate an important role for DHA in adolescence as a potential protective factor for the risk of psychosis in early adulthood.

The researchers say their research findings are consistent across factors such as gender, body mass index, smoking, and socioeconomic status.

“The study should be repeated, but if the results are consistent, they suggest that increased consumption of omega-3s among adolescents, such as eating fatty fish, can prevent the development of psychosis in early adulthood,” explains David Kotter, MD, professor of psychiatry. in RCSI.

The researchers indicate that they want to better understand the mechanisms behind the observed relationship. According to them, adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in the body in adolescence may be associated with reduced inflammation or the formation of inappropriate neural connections during adolescence.

More on this topic: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-021-01425-4 (PAP)

Author: Agnieszka Niewińska-Lewicka

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