People with schizophrenia and depression have a low omega-3 index

Natalie Parletta, Dorota M. Zarnowiecki, Jihyun Cho, Amy L. Wilson, Nicholas Gerard Procter, Andrea L. Fielder, Svetlana Bogomolova, Kerin O. O'Dea, John Strachan, Matt Ballestrin, Andrew Champion, Barbara J. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is higher in people with mental illness and is associated with a 30 year higher mortality rate in this population. Erythrocyte docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (omega-3 index)≤4% is a marker for increased mortality risk from CVD while >8% is protective. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are also important for brain function and may ameliorate symptoms of mental illness. We investigated the erythrocyte omega-3 index in people with mental illness. One hundred and thirty adults aged 18-65 years (32.6% male) with schizophrenia (n=14) and depression (n=116) provided blood samples and completed physiological assessments and questionnaires. Both populations had risk factors for metabolic syndrome and CVD. The average omega-3 index was 3.95% (SD=1.06), compared to an estimated 5% in the Australian population. These data indicate an unfavourable omega-3 profile in people with mental illness that could contribute to higher CVD risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Mental illness
  • Omega-3
  • Omega-3 index
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Schizophrenia


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