Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Anxiety

A report in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity concludes that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation and reduce anxiety. The study, conducted by Ohio State University’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), builds on earlier research pointing to omega-3’s ability to potentially reduce depression.

The CCTS study links increased omega-3 intake with decreased cytokine production. Cytokines have previously been implicated in the promotion of inflammation, and psychological stress is known to boost cytokine production. It was a logical assumption, say, researchers, that by adjusting levels of cytokine, scientists might be able to mitigate its negative effects.

A sample of 68 medical school students agreed to be given either omega-3 supplements or placebos prior to stressful tests and then was evaluated by a series of psychological surveys and blood samples.

Overall, those who took the supplements showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety over the placebo group. Additionally, the group that took omega-3 supplements demonstrated a 14 percent reduction in interleukin-6 (IL-6) blood serum levels. IL-6 is a cytokine and a contributor to systemic inflammation.

Researchers at CCTS are quick to point out that the amount of omega-3 given to the supplement group is equivalent to four or five daily servings of salmon—more than an average person is likely to get. But the important thing, say the researchers, is to have firmly identified and quantified the link between omega-3 and inflammation-causing cytokines. And if the results were so dramatic for a group of relatively young medical school students, the benefits might be even greater for older individuals, who are more prone to inflammation-related diseases.

Source: Medical News Today
Photo: Dana Tentis from Pexels

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