Food and Behaviour Research

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Eicosapentaenoic acid treatment in schizophrenia associated with symptom remission, normalisation of blood fatty acids, reduced neuronal membrane phospholipid turnover and structural brain changes.

Puri BK, Richardson AJ, Horrobin DF, Easton T, Saeed N, Oatridge A, Hajnal JV, Bydder GM. (2000) Int J Clin Pract. 54(1) 57-63. 

Web URL: This abstract can be viewed via PubMed here


The administration of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to a drug-naive patient with schizophrenia, untreated with conventional antipsychotic medication, led to a dramatic and sustained clinical improvement in both positive and negative symptoms.

This was accompanied by a correction in erythrocyte membranes of abnormalities in both n-3 and n-6 highly unsaturated fatty acids and with reduced neuronal membrane phospholipid turnover, as evidenced by serial 31-phosphorus cerebral magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Using recently developed techniques of image segmentation, subvoxel registration and quantitation, analysis of serial high-resolution 3D cerebral MRI scans showed that, in the year before EPA treatment, cerebral atrophy was taking place and that this atrophy was reversed by six months of EPA treatment.

These results demonstrate that EPA can reverse both the phospholipid abnormalities previously described in schizophrenia and cerebral atrophy. They provide strong further evidence in support of the membrane phospholipid model of schizophrenia.