Omega-3 fatty acids and schizophrenia: evidences and recommendations

Clin Ter. 2013;164(6):e529-37. doi: 10.7417/CT.2013.1651.


Schizophrenia is a brain disease that represents a not rare condition, in fact the lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia is widely accepted to be around 1 in 100. Schizophrenia clinically manifests with acute episodes which are associated with hallucinations, delirium, behavioral disorders and a variable range of chronic persistent symptoms, which can be debilitating. The causes of schizophrenia are not clearly understood. It seems that genetic factors may produce a vulnerability to schizophrenia, along with environmental factors that contribute in a different way from individual to individual. In this context schizophrenia constitutes the outcome of a complex interaction between multiple genes and environmental risk factors, none of which on its own causes the disorder itself. Antipsychotic medications represent the first line of psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia. But there is a growing body of evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can prevent the disease or at least mitigate the course and symptoms. Probably, an appropriate dietary supplementation can play a partially therapeutic effect, even in more severe patients, improving some behavioral aspects and, mainly, reducing the cognitive deterioration. In this context the role of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for schizophrenia will strengthen the thrust of researchers and clinicians to the integrated approach to the prevention and cure of a disease that for more than a century challenging researchers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3