A new study published in the journal Brain Behaviour and Immunity a diet rich in omega 3 has been found to reduce inflammation and anxiety levels in healthy people. The researchers argued that the results could be amplified in elderly people and those at risk of certain medical disorders such as depression and anxiety.
68 medical students at the Ohio State University Centre participated in a the study, half took daily supplements of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which included eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the two compounds that have long been considered to produce positive effect on mental and physical health and wellbeing found in oily fish. The other half of the students took a placebo pill that contained the average proportions of fatty acids in the typical American diet.
Stress has been researched in conjunction with immunity and inflammation, psychological stress has been found to increase cytokine production which causes inflammation within the body. It was believed that omega-3 can reduce the production rate and thus reverse some of the symptoms of stress.
The results of the study that included weekly blood tests and psychological questionnaires and interviews reported that the students taking the omega-3 supplement had reduced levels of anxiety of up to 20 percent less than the students in the placebo condition. The analysis of the blood test reportedly demonstrated that taking omega-3 reduced levels of the cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6L) by up to 14 percent.
The researchers reported that the study is one of the first of its kind proving that omega-3 supplementation could have profound anti-anxiety and stress relieving benefits for ‘normal’ healthy individuals.