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The Fitness Zone

Fish oil reduces inflammation and anxiety
November 28, 2011 | by

Recent research into the consumption of fish oil has found that the high level of omega-3 that it contains has the dual effects of reducing anxiety and inflammation.

The 68 subjects in the study supported by backed by the Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) were young, healthy medical students. Half were administered the omega-3 supplements and the other half were given a placebo.

The team of investigators carried out the study with the intention of finding out whether increasing omega-3 intake would diminish the increase in production of proinflammatory cytokines the production of which is increased by psychological stress. The researchers hoped to discover that by reducing cytokine production, inflammation would also be reduced.

Lead study author, and Professor of Psychiatry, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser said: The findings suggest that if young people can get improvements from dietary supplements, than the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more. The more we understand about the complex interplay between inflammation and immunity, the closer we'll get to figuring out which lifestyle choices and changes have the biggest impact on long term health.

Kiecolt-Glaser said: We hypothesised that giving some students omega-3 supplements would decrease their production of proinflammatory cytokines, compared to other students who only received a placebo. We thought the omega-3 would reduce the stress-induced increase in cytokines that normally arose from nervousness over the tests.

The participants were given about four or five times the amount of fish oil that would be found in a serving of salmon. Through a combination of blood tests, psychological questionnaires and nutrition surveys, a significant reduction in both anxiety and inflammation was detected.

Source: Brain, Behavior and Immunity

About

Jen is a Fitness Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness NSW.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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