More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Fish oil reduces anxiety in former substance abusers
Thursday, 7-Dec-2006

Omega-3 fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce anxiety in men with a history of substance abuse.

Deficiencies in omega-3 are associated with a variety of psychiatric conditions, including depression, aggression, attention deficit, and others. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial published in this month's issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology is one of the first to demonstrate benefits from fish oil in adults with anxiety.

Thirteen men were given 5 capsules per day of a supplement containing 450 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), 100 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and 50 mg of other omega-3 fatty acids for 3 months. Eleven men received placebo capsules. A subgroup of men who had taken either fish oil or placebo was followed for an additional 3 months.

A modified version of the Profiles of Mood States (POMS) was used to measure changes in anxiety. The POMS was administered at baseline and monthly to all subjects.

A progressive and significant decline in anxiety scores was observed among the subjects who received the fish oil. No changes were seen among the placebo group. Furthermore, anxiety scores remained low in the sub-group who had taken the fish oil when followed for the additional 3 months.

These preliminary data indicate that long chain omega-3 supplementation may have additional benefits for mental health.

Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey M. n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease anxiety feelings in a population of substance abusers. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006 Dec;26(6):661-5. [Abstract]

The capsules used in this study contained higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids than is found in most commercial brands so doses may need to be adjusted to achieve a comparable daily EPA and DHA intake.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal or OTC supplement while on medication.
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