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Fish oil reduces anxiety

If you worry and suffer from anxiety, you may benefit from supplementing with fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot completely eliminate feelings of worry and anxiety, but they can significantly reduce them.

Fish oil reduces anxiety

In 2011, psychologists at Ohio State University College of Medicine published a trial involving 68 medical students. The psychologists divided the students into a control group and an experimental group. Over a period of 12 weeks, the students in the placebo group took capsules without active substances, while the students in the other group took 2,500 milligrams of omega-3 acids from fish daily.

The researchers used a fish oil that consisted of 7 parts EPA and 1 part DHA.

During the trial, the students took their exams. The researchers used the Beck anxiety questionnaire to determine how worried, worried, and anxious the students were. They did this when the students were just before an exam, but also when the students had no immediate reason to suffer from exam stress.

The figures below give you an idea of the trial design and the characteristics of the test subjects just before the trial started.

Fish oil reduces anxiety

Fish oil reduces anxiety

As you would expect, the concentration of EPA and DHA increased in the blood of the test subjects in the experimental group. The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids: omega-3 fatty acids decreased.

Click on the figures and table below for a larger version.

Fish oil reduces anxiety

Fish oil reduces anxiety

The students in the experimental group had significantly lower anxiety scores than the students in the control group, according to the table above. The lower the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids: omega-3 fatty acids, the lower the anxiety scores.

Fish oil reduces anxiety

The researchers found no effect of fish oil supplementation on depressive symptoms. That was in line with previous findings, they write. "These data are in agreement with a recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials which concluded that n-3 PUFA supplementation benefited clinically depressed individuals, but not those with less severe depressed mood."

Fish oil only helps against depression if you are really depressed. The students did not fall into this category.

Fish oil supplementation had no side effects.

Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Nov;25(8):1725-34.

EPA is an antidepressant 29.09.2020
Fish oil capsules reduce aggression within six weeks 09.01.2019
Mild depression disappears after taking fish oil for three weeks 15.11.2016
Fish oil reduces mental stress 21.11.2010

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