Fish Oil May Reduce The Risk Of Psychosis, News Article Review
I was excited to see a news article today that gave an overview of a recent study that indicates that fish oil may reduce the risk of psychosis. The link between low amounts of fish oil in the diet and schizophrenia has already been established. What is cool about this news article is that finally, this information is increasingly getting out to the public via the national media. Here are a few key points from the news article with my comments added:
- Fish oil might offer similar benefits to low-dose anti-psychotics with fewer potential side-effects. Drug companies may not like this, but it’s great news for patients! One would have to wonder if perhaps, besides being safer and healthier for patients to use, if it might be more cost-effective as well?
- Fish oils tablets were given 4x per day for 3 months. This is interesting for two reasons: First, the 3 month trial, healing takes time and researchers know that. Most people want instant relief, but it is more reasonable to assume that the body needs time to use the fish oil to repair itself. Thus, 90 days is a large enough window to see changes over time. Second, giving the fish oil 4x per day is interesting. Most of my reading has indicated that fish oil stays in your body at high levels over 24 hours. Therefore, it is o.k. to dose the fish oil 1x per day rather than splitting the dose and taking it multiple times per day. Dosing it once per day is easier for patients to follow. As a side note: I tend to like using the liquid omega 3 over the tablets. The liquid is usually cheaper in the long run as you are paying for the added processing step with the tablets or capsules and the liquid is usually easier to digest.
- Previous studies suggest a link between omega-3 fatty acids and mental health. The real truth here is that the proper ratio between omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is crucial. Omega-6 fatty acids are best described as fatty acids derived from grains mainly. Most Americans have a heavily grain-based diet: breads, pastas, grain fed meats, corn-syrup laden foods, etc. Few Amercians consume many foods that contain omega-3 like deep, cold water fish, omega 3 enriched eggs, and grass fed meats. The proper ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in the diet is 2:1 to 3:1. Most Amercians are in the neighborhood of 30:1. When the omega 6:omega 3 ratios go so far out of whack the brain literally does not have the raw materials to support itself and make neurochemicals properly. Schizophrenics have shown ratios of 70:1.
- There is no need for large doses, the study used 1200mg per day. This is also interesting. Most authorities advocate 2700-3000mg per day. The discrepancy may be due to what one is trying to accomplish in taking the fish oil for health. If one’s goal is to influence mental health, then 1200mg per day looks sufficient based upon this study. However, the beauty of fish oil is that it influences many functions within the body in a great way. If one’s goal is pain reduction or overall health benefits, 2700-3000mg per day of fish oil is advised.
- Other studies suggest that fish oil might protect against Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and slow the progression of prostate cancer. Actually, fish oil offers many more benefits that this short list, such as reduced risk of heart attacks, reduced risk of strokes, improvements in allergy and asthma symptoms, help for psoriasis, reduced risk of certain cancers, improved recovery from brain injuries, and reduction of pain, to name a few of the many benefits. Most of these excellent health benefits are the result of the omega 3 from fish oil inhibiting the prostaglandin E2 silent imflammation pathway that is linked to chronic diseases.
- Researchers advise caution in choosing a supplement after growing concerns about contamination. I totally agree and strongly advise using a high quality, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil like the Innate Choice brand that we carry in our office for our patients. We have tried many different brands and Innate Choice seems to offer the most bang for your buck. Because it has little taste or smell, with very few exceptions, most everyone can take it. You can look up the contamination testing results on the Innate Choice website as their product goes through regular testing intervals. Most people are aware of the heavy metals such as mercury that are associated with fish; however, there are other contaiminates such as PCBs that are every bit as frightening as heavy metals! Poor quality fish oils are associated with poor taste, burp ups, fouls smells and digestive complaints as well.
If you would like to do more reading on the subject of omega-3 and health, here are a few of my favorite resources:
Finally, this blog post is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific condition. Consult your qualified health professional for your specific needs.
All the best,
Dr. Jeri Anderson, Sacramento Chiropractor