Vitamins and Minerals

Omega-3 For Anxiety Disorder And Stress

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What science says about Omega-3 For Anxiety Disorder And Stress

Scientists and medical experts have different opinions on the benefits of omega-3 for anxiety relief. Some experts believe that omega-3 can help treat anxiety because it regulates the imbalance of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in the brain. It also reduces inflammation and adjusts a person’s mood and energy levels.

Other experts believe that omega-3 does not help treat or prevent anxiety. They argue that the scientific evidence surrounding omega-3 and its effects on anxiety is contradictory.

For instance, some research shows that omega-3 can decrease the severity of the anxiety that people may experience, while other studies indicate that omega-3 may worsen people’s anxiety.

Thus, experts call for more research to investigate the effect of omega-3 on anxiety. They want to determine whether omega-3 helps treat the disease before they approve it as a course of treatment.  


Opinion in favor of taking omega-3 to reduce anxiety symptoms:

Supporters of omega-3 consumption for anxiety relief believe that it helps treat anxiety because two of its main fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play an important role in reducing anxiety and its symptoms.

It is suggested that omega-3 regulates the activity of the amygdala in the brain, reducing the feeling of fear. Omega-3 also improves the cellular uptake of serotonin, which plays an important role in improving the mood. Plus, it lowers inflammation in the brain, which helps regulate the number of neurotransmitters in the brain and manage nerve cell communication.

Some studies indicate that omega-3 does improve anxiety. For instance, the meta-analysis “Association of Use of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids With Changes in Severity of Anxiety Symptoms” looked at anxiety symptoms and omega-3 consumption patterns in 2,240 participants from 11 countries.

Its results showed that compared with placebo groups, those who took omega-3 supplements experienced relief from their anxiety symptoms. This indicates that omega-3 supplementation may be used to treat anxiety.

Opinion against taking omega-3 to reduce anxiety symptoms:

Most medical experts agree that people need omega-3 in small amounts for overall health. However, opponents of omega-3 consumption for anxiety believe that the evidence that supports the claim that omega-3 relieves anxiety, or its symptoms is contradictory.

For instance, one case report shows that omega-3 does not help relieve anxiety symptoms. On the contrary, the person felt less anxious after he stopped taking omega-3 supplements.

The case report, “Insomnia and exacerbation of anxiety associated with high-EPA fish oil supplements after successful treatment of depression” involving a 54- year-old male with anxiety indicated that his prescribed omega-3 supplements worsened his anxiety and insomnia. He got better after he stopped taking them.

Another systematic review, “Omega-3 and polyunsaturated fat for prevention of depression and anxiety symptoms: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials,” analyzed 31 trials that examined the effect of omega-3 on anxiety. It found that omega-3 fatty acids do not affect anxiety symptoms at all.

Thus, because some studies indicate that omega-3 has no effect on anxiety symptoms, researchers need more research on omega-3 and its role in overcoming anxiety, especially since omega-3’s exact mechanism of action has not been proven yet.

Published December 2020

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