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Omega-3 Supplementation May Help Reduce Damage From Stress

Previous research has found that stress may speed up the aging process by shortening the length of telomeres and increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and pro-inflammatory cytokines. A new study suggests that supplementation with a high-dose of omega-3’s may help reduce the damage caused by stress.

Participants in the study included 138 sedentary, overweight, middle-aged adults. They received 2.5 grams of omega-3, 1.25 grams of omega-3, or a placebo daily for 4 months. The researchers administered the Trier Social Stress Test at baseline and at the end of the study period. Saliva and blood samples were taken before and after the stress test and used to evaluate telomerase levels, salivary cortisol levels, and pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Participants in the high dose omega-3 group saw a 19% reduction in cortisol levels and a 33% reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines compared to the placebo group. Participants in both omega-3 groups maintained telomerase levels in the two hours after the stress test, compared to a 24% decrease in the placebo group. Telomerase is responsible for telomere length maintenance.

Participants in the placebo group also saw a 26% decrease in anti-inflammatory cytokines, compared to no change in the omega-3 groups.

The study was conducted by researchers from Ohio State University. It was published online ahead of print on April 20, 2021 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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