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New research shows consuming omega-3 fatty acids reduces anxiety and inflammation.

The study gauging the impact of consuming more fish oil showed a marked reduction both in inflammation and anxiety among a cohort of healthy young people.

The findings suggest that if young participants can get such improvements from specific dietary supplements, then the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more.

The team assembled a field of 68 first- and second-year medical students who volunteered for the clinical trial. The students were randomly divided into six groups, all of which were interviewed six times during the study. At each visit, blood samples were drawn from the students who also completed a battery of psychological surveys intended to gauge their levels of stress, anxiety or depression. The students also completed questionnaires about their diets during the previous weeks.

Half the students received omega-3 supplements, at about four or five times the amount of fish oil you’d get from a daily serving of salmon, while the other half were given placebo pills.

An analysis of the of blood samples showed a decrease in interleukin-6, which fosters inflammation, among the students receiving the omega-3.

Psychological surveys clearly showed an important change in anxiety among the students: Those receiving the omega-3 showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety compared to the placebo group.

The findings by a team of researchers at Ohio State University were published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

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