Omega-3s Reduce Anxiety

    Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT -- Psychotherapist Omega-3s Reduce Anxiety 
    by Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT | Email




    In my practice, I normally recommend Omega-3s as a beneficial intervention for individuals suffering from depression.  Now there is another reason that underscores the importance and usefulness of Omega-3s.

    A research study1, published in the November 2011 issue of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, found that taking Omega-3 fatty acids that were high in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) reduced anxiety by 20% and inflammation by 14% in otherwise healthy medical students.

    The supplementation consisted of a 2.5 gram dose daily with a ratio of 2085 mg of EPA to 348 mg of DHA (docosahexanoic acid).  This was approximately a 6:1 ratio.  Reductions in anxiety levels were measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory.

    The research was conducted at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.  Studies at Harvard Medical School have already linked high EPA Omega-3s to a reduction in depression, even for those with bipolar disorder.2  Other studies have also supported the usefulness of of high Omega-3s in treating depression.3  This new research provides the first evidence that Omega-3s can produce an anti-anxiety effect for individuals without an anxiety disorder.

    Combining Omega-3 supplementation with a behavioral intervention, such as Quick REMAP, may offer a doubly potent approach to helping people manage the effects of anxiety.  Cognitive therapy interventions can also be blended well with Quick REMAP and Omega-3 supplementation when thinking patterns contribute to the anxiety.

    1. Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Belury, M.A., Andridge, R., Malarkey, W.B., & Glaser, R. (2011). Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: A randomized controlled trial. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 25(8), 1725-38.

    2. Stoll, A.L., et al. (1999). Omega 3 fatty acids in bipolar disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry 56, 407-12.

    3. Peet, M., & Horrobin, D.F. (2002). A dose-ranging study of the effects of ethyleicosapentaenoate in patients with ongoing depression despite apparently adequate treatment with standard drugs. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59(10), 913-919.

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