Essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency and resulting lipid membrane abnormalities may increase risk of schizophrenia

Recently gathered epidemiological data suggest an association between high fish consumption (suggesting high Essential Fatty Acids and Omega 3 oils) and positive outcomes in patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients often show reduced levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)in their red blood cell membranes. These EFAs (also known as poly-unsaturated fatty acids) normally contribute to brain cognitive and behavioral function, development, and growth.

If schizophrenia risk is also increased, as some scientific evidence has suggested, by pre-natal viral infections (thus raising inflammatory immune reactions in the body), EFA supplementation could play a protective role here by helping to control this inflammatory response.

Action: Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation for people may have a beneficial effect on the probabilities of getting schizophrenia, or on better control of symptoms if one already has schizophrenia. (Please note that researchers tell us that there is no good, validated research that supports the idea that any type of vitamin or fatty acid (EFA) will cure schizophrenia). It is imortant to maintain a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (the former reduces inflammation, while the latter promotes it) - a healthy diet consists of roughly one to four times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Sources for Omega-3s include fish (i.e. salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring) and plant oils (i.e. flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, purslane, perilla seed oil, walnuts, and walnut oil). You can also buy fish oil capsules or flaxseed oil in health food stores.

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