Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder with multiple contributing factors, including genetics, environment, brain chemistry, and substance use. Emerging research suggests that oxidative stress and inflammation could play a pivotal role in the onset and progression of this condition. This article dives deep into complementary treatments, especially focusing on the potential of Omega-3 fatty acids, CBD, and probiotics as natural treatments for psychosis.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Evidence & Benefits: Numerous studies have pointed to the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for psychosis and schizophrenia. Omega-3 supplementation has been found to reduce the progression to full-blown psychotic disorders in high-risk individuals. Furthermore, it can reduce the antipsychotic dose needed to control symptoms, increase antipsychotic tolerability, reduce extrapyramidal side effects, and improve cognitive performance1.
Dose: Research trials often employ doses ranging between 1-2 grams of EPA and/or DHA combined per day.
Duration: Supplementation periods in research typically span several weeks to a few months.
Limitations: Results are mixed, with not all studies finding omega-3 supplementation beneficial for psychosis or schizophrenia.
Safety & Side Effects: Generally safe, though high doses can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Some risk (albeit minor) of increased bleeding exists.
Taurine, an amino acid found naturally in the body, has been proposed to help with psychosis because of its potential antioxidant and neuromodulatory properties.
Evidence & Benefits: Early evidence suggests taurine may be beneficial when added to antipsychotic treatments, possibly helping with symptom reduction.
Dose: Most studies use doses around 2 grams per day, but this can vary.
Limitations: Further research is needed to firmly establish taurine's role.
Safety & Side Effects: Taurine is generally considered safe, but as always, consultation with a healthcare professional is essential.
CBD and THC:
While THC (a primary psychoactive compound in cannabis) is not helpful for psychosis and may actually increase the risk of psychosis especially in young males, CBD (cannabidiol) is gaining attention for potential benefits.
Evidence & Benefits: Preliminary evidence suggests CBD might have antipsychotic properties, potentially helping to reduce symptoms.
Dose: Research studies often use doses ranging from 300mg to 800mg of CBD per day.
Limitations: While there's potential, more research is required.
Safety & Side Effects: CBD is typically well-tolerated, but it's crucial to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare provider.
Probiotics and Gut Microbiota:
Evidence & Benefits:
Emerging evidence hints at the relationship between our gut health and mental conditions like schizophrenia. The gut microbiota in individuals with schizophrenia seems to differ from that in healthy individuals. Notably, there's a reduction of anti-inflammatory butyrate-producing bacteria in schizophrenia. Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Further evidence of the gut's role in schizophrenia comes from studies on probiotics, which are live beneficial bacteria we can consume. In one study, taking a sp
ecific probiotic called Bifidobacterium breve for 4 weeks helped reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Another study combined probiotics with vitamin D and found that over 12 weeks, it significantly improved symptoms in people with schizophrenia. Additionally, inflammation, as measured by a marker called C-reactive protein, decreased.
Dose: Probiotic dosages can differ a lot based on the specific strain and how it's prepared. It's often recommended to take billions to tens of billions of CFUs (colony-forming units) daily, but it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional.
Limitations: Our understanding of probiotics and their effect on psychosis is still developing. We need more extensive, detailed studies to know how best to use them.
Safety & Side Effects: Generally, probiotics are safe to consume, but they might cause some digestive discomfort in a few individuals.
For more insights on mental health and complementary treatments, check out these posts:
If you're interested in becoming a patient at Driftless Integrative Psychiatry and working with Dr. Burger for a personalized, holistic, and root-cause approach to mental health including the assessment for and treatment of psychosis, you can learn more here.
This blog post is designed as a general guide. This is not a substitute for personalized medical advice, nor is a patient-physician relationship established in this blog post.