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The role of Omega-3 PUFAs in treating the symptoms associated with schizophrenia

Iliyana Stoycheva, Gergana Petrova, Nural Dzhambazov, Yoana Kiselova, Deyana Vankova


Introduction: Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder characterized by disconnectiv­ity among distributed brain regions. A schizophrenic has trouble recognizing reality and deception notwithstanding when wakeful. Although schizophrenia is less common than other mental illnesses, the symptoms can be extremely disabling. As polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are the major con­stituents of cell membrane phospholipids and take part in the receptors` signalling, they are consid­ered as essential for neurodevelopment and brain functions. The aim of this report is to briefly pres­ent the role of diets rich in omega-3 PUFAs in treating the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

Materials and methods: The presented review is a result of the gathering and analysing of informa­tion from more than 20 articles published in scientific databases - PubMed, Research&Reviews and ScienceDirect.

Results: The findings in this study revealed that schizophrenia is a disease that typically begins in early adulthood. Schizophrenic people often have high levels of inflammatory cytokines but low lev­els of omega-3s. The latter play a powerful anti-inflammatory role believed to be responsible for some of their therapeutic effects on mental health. Many randomized controlled clinical trials report that supplementation with omega-3s could lead to significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life. Some of them reported positive effect on primary efficacy, as well as a possibility to prevent full-blown schizophrenia in youngsters having the earliest symptoms. However, other revealed at least some beneficial effect on secondary outcomes, while a single study found no evidence that omega-3s could be a suitable alternative to maintenance antipsychotic treatment in relapse of schizophrenia.

Conclusion: Schizophrenia is a multidimensional disorder that prevents people from having a nor­mal life. However, the efficacy of omega-3s is not sufficiently proven yet, hence more scientific data is needed to clarify their role as a promising supplement relieving symptoms of schizophrenia.


schizophrenia; symptoms of schizophrenia; omega-3 PUFAs



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