Omega-3 oil supplement may help prevent post-traumatic distress

23 January 2012

A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggests that omega-3 fatty acid can help prevent the psychological consequences of a traumatic accident.

It is known that severity of depression is associated with low levels of erythrocyte omega–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n–3PUFAs) and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Dietary n–3 PUFAs promote the maturation of neurons and hippocampal neurogenesis in adult rats and have been found to increase the levels of BDNF in rat. BDNF exerts various effects on the nervous system, including neuronal outgrowth, differentiation, synaptic connectivity as well as neuronal repair and survival during development and in adulthood.

The findings of this study indicate that supplementation with n–3 PUFA enhances the effect of BDNF-related synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. This implies that n–3 PUFA-induced neurogenesis occurring early in the transition period might, by increasing BDNF, facilitate the clearance of fear memory and attenuate post-traumatic distress.

More information

Matsuoka, Y. et al. Potential Role of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Omega–3 Fatty Acid Supplementation to Prevent Posttraumatic Distress after Accidental Injury: An Open-Label Pilot Study. Psychother Psychosom 2011;80:310-312.

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