Researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ireland have named the harms that can come from teenagers consuming vegetable oils rich in omega-6-fatty acids. High levels of these substances in the blood have been linked to mental disorders in young people. This is reported in an article published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.
Experts examined 3.8 thousand people aged 17 to 24 years for the presence of psychotic disorders, depression or generalized anxiety disorder. They also collected blood samples to measure levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which increase inflammation, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have the opposite effect. It turned out that volunteers aged 24 with psychotic disorders had higher levels of omega-6-fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids compared to those without the disorder.
In addition, the high risk of psychotic disorder was associated with lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is commonly found in fish or supplements. In a group of more than 2,700 people with long-term follow-up, adolescents with higher levels of DHA at age 17 were 56 percent less likely to develop a psychotic disorder over the next seven years.
These results remained unchanged when factors such as gender, body mass index, tobacco smoking, and socioeconomic status were taken into account. At the same time, they point to a potential link between consumption of vegetable oils, which are high in omega-6 fatty acids, and the propensity for mental illness. Nevertheless, the scientists emphasize that further research is needed to uncover the mechanisms underlying the effect.