The Power of A Single Supplement

True or false? Taking a single supplement for 12 weeks has been demonstrated to reduce incidence of psychosis in high-risk individuals for one year.

True. 
In a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 1200 mg fish oil was given to young adults at high risk of psychosis. The supplement of fish oil was given only for 12 weeks and the young adults were followed for 1 year. Those given the fish oil experienced less psychosis and significant symptomatic and functional improvements during the 1-year follow up period.

The results from this study are astounding, and demonstrate the powerful neurologic impact of omega 3 fatty acids. This study puts into perspective how profoundly our dietary choices impact mental health.

Fish Oil Supplements
Based on this study, should everyone take fish oil? No. But based the evidence demonstrating the positive impact of omega 3 fatty acids on our health, we should ensure that our daily essential fatty acid needs are met.

To meet daily nutrient needs for omega 3 fatty acids, as recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), you must eat oily fish, such as wild salmon, sardines or herring, twice a week.

Additionally, in 2006 the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Subcommittee of the American Psychiatric Association further recommended that patients with mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, impulse control disorders, or psychotic disorders consume 1000-1500 mg EPA and DHA daily. Supplementation of EPA and DHA using fish oil or algae derived supplements can be considered when intake of fish is not adequate. Supplementation decisions should be discussed with your personal dietitian or well-informed physician.

Photo Credit: McCormick, click here for Citrus Salmon with Orange Relish recipe

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.

6 thoughts on “The Power of A Single Supplement

    • Hi Lynn,
      Good question! Most of the time yes, people with fish allergies can use a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement. BUT this is truly something to consider on a case by case basis and I’d need to know more about the type of allergy and the severity of allergy before recommending the use of fish oil supplements for a person with an allergy to fish.
      Thanks, Hana

    • Hi Kim, Good question. There is a significant difference between flax and fish oils.
      Flax oil contains alpha linoelic acid (ALA) that will be converted using enzymes and vitamins into EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the omega-3 fatty acids that act directly on our genes to suppress inflammation. Fish oil provides EPA and DHA, without requiring any conversion.
      Various factors impair conversion of ALA in flax to EPA and DHA, including insulin resistance, diabetes, stress, alcohol intake, vegetarian diets and sub-clinical deficiencies of B6 and other vitamins and minerals.
      Additionally, flax oil is associated with higher prostate cancer in men, so I definitely don’t recommend flax for men.
      Bottom line: fish oil is superior to flax. If dietary preferences or beliefs require looking for a non-fish source of EPA and DHA I tend to go for algae derived DHA rather than flax.
      Hana

      • Great, thanks! What about flax seed consumption for men? It’s often in seed breads, etc., so should this also be avoided, or only supplementation?

        • Hi Kim-Flax seed in breads and such is fine, but I wouldn’t supplement it or use ground flaxseeds as a part of his regular diet. Hana

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