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New research has discovered that young people who took supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of schizophrenia, helping to prevent psychotic mental illnesses. It is the first study to provide clear and solid evidence that fish oil capsules are effective in the prevention of severe psychiatric disorders and diseases.  

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The study was published this week in the journal Nature Communications. It was conducted by the University of Melbourne in Australia.

High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are contained naturally in various types of fatty fish including sardines, mackerel, salmon, and tuna, but are also sold in fish oil capsules. Past studies have shown their effectiveness in treating people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression.

The new study focused on youngsters between the ages of 13 and 25, who have a high risk of severe mental disorders. They reported hallucinations or delusions, or had a family history of serious mental illness.

Statistics show that such teens and young adults are 35 percent to 40 percent likely to develop the lifelong condition schizophrenia. It results in breaks in thoughts and perceptions.  

The study included 80 youngsters in Vienna who wanted psychiatric treatment. Half received a daily dosage of fish oil for 12 weeks.  Meanwhile, the other 40 volunteers received a daily placebo (no-effect) capsule.

Around seven years later, the researchers noticed a big difference between the experiment's two groups. Among the placebo-taking control group, 40 percent were suffering from a psychotic disorder. However, under 10 percent of the omega-3 capsule-taking group had developed a psychotic disorder, according to  Los Angeles Times.

In addition, 83 percent of the placebo group had received a diagnosis for a new psychiatric illness. However, the fish oil group's figure was just 53 percent.

The study also implies that mental disorders can be prevented during critical brain development in adolescents. It is not crystal clear how omega-3 can help.

However, the fatty acids seem to trigger the activating of brain cells and balancing of neurotransmitters. They also lack the side effects of medications with strong synthetic ingredients.

Various types of fatty acids are contained in fish oil. They are vital parts of humans' cell membranes that help in hormone production, according to Medical News Today.

This video explains the difference between good and bad fats: