Essential fatty acids

How are essential fatty acids used for schizophrenia?

A supplementary, or adjunctive, treatment is administered in conjunction with a patient’s ongoing antipsychotic therapy, in an attempt to treat symptoms or improve functions that are not addressed by the antipsychotic alone. One important group of compounds that have been suggested as an adjunctive therapy are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The two main EFAs are omega-3 and omega-6. They are important compounds for brain function, as they have impact on membrane receptors, ion channels synapse function, and neuronal development. However, they are not made in the body and must be sourced from the diet. People with schizophrenia have shown to have lower levels of these essential compounds and their products, including omega-3 products docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), its esther, ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid (E-EPA), omega-6 product arachidonic acid (AA), and their metabolites including prostaglandins (PGE).

What is the evidence on fatty acid supplementation?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds no benefit of adjunctive essential fatty acids for symptoms or global state.

September 2020

Last updated at: 5:09 am, 29th September 2020
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.