Neurocognitive effects of an omega-3 fatty acid and vitamins E+C in schizophrenia: A randomised controlled trial

There is need for more efficient treatment of neurocognitive deficits in schizophrenia.


In this 16 weeks randomised, placebo-controlled trial, we examined neurocognitive effects of adding ethyl-eicosapentaenoate 2 g/day and/or vitamins E 364 mg/day + C 1000 mg/day to antipsychotics in 53 patients aged 18–39 years with acute schizophrenia. For the sake of validating neurocognitive tests, healthy subjects, not taking trial drugs, were also included in the study. Ethyl-EPA given alone to patients with low baseline RBC polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and Vitamins E+C given alone to high PUFA patients, impaired sustained attention (Continuous Performance Test, CPT-IP d prime score), standardised effect sizes d = 0.78 and d = 0.69, respectively. These adverse effects were paralleled by excessive increases in long-chain PUFA and serum alpha-tocopherol, respectively. They were counteracted by combining ethyl-EPA and vitamins, d = 0.80 and d = 0.74 in low and high PUFA patients, respectively. No other neurocognitive tests yielded significant results. Plausible mechanisms of harmful effects are oxidative stress and lipid raft disruption.

Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2017.10.002

Published Mar. 19, 2018 7:00 AM