It could be the biggest mental health breakthrough in generations -- millions of Americans spared dangerous psychotic meds by simply getting more fish oil.
Researchers looked at 81 people between the ages of 13 and 25 who were showing some of the early warning signs of schizophrenia: paranoia, suspicion, belief in magical powers, and changing sleep patterns.
They gave 41 of these patients fish oil for three months... and the rest a placebo.
One year later, only two of the 41 fish oil patients (5 percent) became full-blown psychotics, versus 11 of the 40 (28 percent) in the placebo group.
The study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry was a relatively small one, so it's still early... but the results so far are encouraging enough that I'm sure Big Pharma's drug pushers are already experiencing some mental disorders of their own.
The research doesn't suggest that a schizophrenic might benefit from fish oil -- although it wouldn't hurt to add some, since we all need these fatty acids for so many other reasons. But it does show that many of the people at risk for this condition might be able to dodge that bullet it if they simply boost their omega-3 intake.
Researchers believe the people who suffer from these conditions may have a problem with the fatty acids in their brains -- and that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil could help undo the damage.
If it holds up to further study, it would be a huge leap forward. Some 2.4 million Americans take powerful, dangerous and even deadly antipsychotic drugs to deal with conditions like schizophrenia.
And yet the real solution may have been swimming in plain sight all along.
You can bet Big Pharma will fight this tooth and fin -- so expect an all-out effort to discredit this research. After all, people on meds for these conditions are usually lifetime customers, and they're not going to give up that easy cash without a fish fight.
In other words, take the next wave of research on this with an extra grain of sea salt.
Speaking of these great fatty acids, just last week, I mentioned a new study that found people with the lowest levels of fish oil in their diets had the highest risk of dental disorders. (Read How fish oil helps the mouth.")
Where the researchers behind that study found that fish oil appears to lower the inflammation the leads to oral health problems, the authors of a new study found that these fatty acids can also fight the bacteria that live in your mouth.
That study, published in Molecular Oral Microbiology, finds that even low doses of omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, and Porphyromonas gingivalis -- better known to you and me as disease-causing nasties.
If you're not eating fish yet, get started -- and if you don't like seafood, pick a good high-quality fish oil supplement. With its benefits on the heart and circulation and new research showing how it can help both your mouth and mind, it's a fatty acid that could truly boost your head-to-toe health.