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April 04, 2007
Essential Fats Found Deficient in Brains of Men with Schizophrenia
A small postmortem study of brain tissue suggests that males with schizophrenia may have an abnormality in the amounts of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in a portion of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Essential fatty acids are beneficial, necessary fats we obtain from only some foods, and which our own body cannot manufacture on its own. These fats are essential to our health and survival.
The types of EFAs found in this study to be most deficient in the OFC were the omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The largest deficiencies were seen in patients who had not yet been treated with antipsychotic medications, and in those that had died of cardiovascular diseases. Treatment with antipsychotic medications partially corrected ("normalized") the fatty acid abnormalities, with more normal values seen in those brains treated with the atypical antipsychotics than in those treated with typical antipsychotics.
The authors of the study write that:
"The findings suggest that such deficiencies are gender-specific (in males, but not seen in the females studied) and partially normalized by antipsychotic medications. Fatty acid abnormalities could not be wholly attributed to lifestyle or postmortem tissue variables."
Unfortunately, research into supplementation of Omega fatty acids has shown very mixed results in terms of helping people with schizophrenia. Some studies have shown some benefit in reductions of negative symptoms (by 20% or so), but other rigorous studies have shown no such benefits. A research review article from Cochrane Review suggested that "The use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for schizophrenia remains experimental and large well designed, conducted and reported studies are indicated and needed."
Currently, omega-3 fatty acids, usually from fish oil, is recommended or prescribed by doctors for the treatment of some forms of cardiovascular disease.
Some common dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids are: cold water oily fish (such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines), flaxseed, kiwi, walnuts, and some eggs and poultry.
Some common dietary sources of omega-6 fatty acids are whole-grain cereals and breads, eggs and poultry.
Read the full article: Omega-3 levels in orbitofrontal cortex linked to schizophrenia
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at April 4, 2007 05:30 AM
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