Study Shows That Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Reduce Anxiety

Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have a number of potential health benefits, from possible anti-cancer effects to improved cardiovascular health. More research into the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids has looked at the possible psychiatric benefits of omega-3s. One such study, from researchers at Ohio State University, was published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. The findings showed that consuming fish oil reduced both inflammation and anxiety in a group of healthy medical school students.

Prior research showed that omega-3 could help reduce the body's level of cytokines (compounds that promote inflammation). Cytokine production can be increased by psychological stress, so the researchers conducting this study hypothesized that omega-3 supplementation would decrease stress-induced cytokine increases.

The researchers found that the students receiving omega-3 did have a reduction in cytokines, which has benefits to a person's overall health. In addition, they found that the omega-3 group had a 20% reduction in anxiety compared to the group receiving placebos. The researchers caution that it may be too early to recommend that everyone take omega-3 supplements, but do suggest that people consider increasing the amount obtained through diet.

Photo: Medical News Today
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