Photo of fresh salmon steaks
Fish oil helped stressed medical students stay calm [Image: Pauk - Flikr/Wikimedia Commons]

Omega-3 oils ease anxiety, reduce inflammation

24 November, 2011

Natural Health News — The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and other foods may reduce stress, anxiety and inflammation, according to a new study.

The small US study looked at 68 first- and second-year medical students half of whom received omega-3 supplements, and the other half placebo pills.

Over the course of the study the students were asked to attend several interviews and fill in questionnaires about their diets and health and blood samples were taken to look for cytokines, pro-inflammatory chemicals produced in the body in in response to stress.

Results, published in the online  in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, showed that the daily fish-oil supplements, which contained around 4-5 times more than you would get in a serving of salmon, reduced the students’ anxiety levels by 20%. In addition the researchers from the Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science say the supplements also lowered levels of one marker for harmful inflammation by 14%.

Although inflammation is a natural immune response that helps heal the body, if prolonged it can also become harmful and has been linked to range of diseases from heart disease and arthritis to cancer.

The researchers suggest it may not be necessary to mega-dose with omega-3 to see benefits and suggested people consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet.


  • See our Q&A advice on plant sources of omega 3 here.