Certain nutrient supplements, used alongside standard treatment, may help in reducing the symptoms of psychotic illness such as schizophrenia in young people, finds a review of clinical trials. The findings showed that consuming four grams of Taurine — an amino-acid, found in foods such as shellfish and turkey — per day reduced psychotic symptoms within just 12 weeks. Antioxidant supplements, such as n-acetyl cysteine and Vitamin C, were also found effective, particularly for patients with high levels of “oxidative stress”. In addition, Omega-3 supplements showed an improvement in brain health in young people with psychosis, the researchers noted. “Nutrient supplementation in the treatment of mental illness is something which can be surrounded by both cynicism and ‘hype’,” said Joseph Firth, Research Fellow at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. “Certainly, there is an early indication that certain nutrients may be beneficial, not to replace standard treatment, but as an ‘add-on’ treatment for some patients,” said Firth. “A combined nutrient intervention, explicitly designed from the evidence-base in psychosis, may, therefore, confer larger and more beneficial effects for young people with this condition,” Firth added. For the study, the team brought together data from eight independent clinical trials of nutrient supplementation on 457 young people in the early stages of psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. The team is now set to launch a new clinical trial in which all of the potentially beneficial nutrients are combined within a single supplement, and provided to young people with psychosis.The study has been published in the journal Early Intervention in Psychiatry.