Fish Oils as Anti-Stress Nutrients

Evidence suggests that fish oil may have particular anti-stress effects in humans and animals. For example, in one study researcher administered 7.2 grams of fish oils per day to humans for 3 weeks. The subjects were then exposed to mental stress to investigate the effects of the fish oils on the release of stress hormones. The mental stress significantly increased heart rate, blood pressure and the energy expenditure of the subjects as would be expected from a stress response. In particular levels of plasma cortisol and plasma adrenaline, two of the main stress hormones in humans, increased significantly. However, following the 3 weeks of fish oil supplementation, the plasma cortisol and plasma adrenaline levels response to the mental stress was significantly attenuated. The authors concluded that fish oils were effective at reducing the adrenal response to mental stress, and although they did not understand the mechanism, suggested that it may relate to the ability of the fish oils to positively affect the central nervous system. 

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Delarue, J. O. C. P., Matzinger, O., Binnert, C., Schneiter, P., Chiolero, R. and Tappy, L. 2003. Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men. Diabetes and Metabolism. 29(3): 289-295

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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