Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fish oil, anxiety, and anger

I am noticing in my most recent medication reviews, that more and more psychotropic medications are being tested as treatments for aggressive behavior. I've worked in treatment centers and I know that the kind of aggression seen in substance users is more than just being "a little pushy"...and that this behavior, if it can be intervened on, can help a person with this problem to have more productive relationships and overall life successes.

A recent study found that substance abusers have dietary habits that promote poor omega-3 balance. (Anyone reading this who has attended a 12 Step meeting will attest to the donuts and sugared coffee these meetings are known for!)

In this study, 3 months of using 3 grams per day of fish oil (containing both EPA and DHA), anger and anxiety on test scores decreased significantly.

Interestingly, EPA and anxiety were most closely associated, and DHA and anger were most closely associated. For anyone using fish oil as a supplement, this distinction is likely moot. However, for anyone who is vegetarian and using marine algae or marine algae-supplemented foods as their omega-3 source, they may not see the reduction in anger that a fish-eating person may eat.

I just love it when nature shows us ways to feel better that don't always have to involve medication!

Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey M, Hibbeln JR. Associations between increases in plasma n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids following supplementation and decreases in anger and anxiety in substance abusers. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Nov 1 [Epub ahead of print]


Anonymous said...

Hi, I stumbled across your website surfing for information on anxiety which I believe is mild for me. I am a 43 year old female looking for a more natural way to help the anxiety (worrying about everything every day, social situations). I have heard that fish oil can help with this and appreciate any recommendations. The anxiety does seem worse when I am ovulating or two weeks before my cycle. Thank you, Julie

hormonewoman said...

Hello Julie!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! It's only about a week old and I'm excited people are finding it.

Fish oil can definitely help, and it is more effective when used with the right kind of diet.

Before I make any recommendations...are you being treated for any other medical or emotional issues with medication? I want to be sure not to interfere with any important instructions you may need to follow.

Also, check out my main website! If you use my private email address,, it will be more confidential, and you can share information that can be useful to me without having it publicly displayed here.

Have a great Saturday!