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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Fish Oils in Anger Management

Apr 04, 2011 12:39PM

Omega-3 long-chain fatty acid deficiency has been implicated in several psychiatric disorders including depression, suicidal tendencies, and aggressive behavior. Supplementation with fish oils (EPA and DHA) has been found effective in combating depression and bipolar disease. Now researchers at the New York Harbor Healthcare System report that supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main components of fish oil, is effective in defusing anger and decreasing hostility.

The double-blind, randomized trial involved 24 patients who had a lifelong history of aggressive behaviour and problems with the law, and had been admitted to substance abuse clinics. The average age of the patients was 51 years, 80% were unemployed, and 60% were either separated, divorced, or widowed.

The researchers made the interesting observation that patients with a history of assaultive behavior consumed only about half the amount of fish consumed by those who had not exhibited this behavior.

The study participants were randomly assigned to receive placebo capsules (soybean oil) or 5 fish oil capsules a day providing a total of 2250 mg/day of EPA and 500 mg of DHA. All capsules contained vitamin E as an antioxidant and lemon oil to mask their taste. At the end of the 3-month supplementation period, the anger score in the group of patients given fish oil had dropped by over 50% and this improvement persisted for another 3 months after ceasing supplementation. The anger score for those given the placebo did not change. The researchers speculate that the beneficial effects of fish oils may be due to their ability to improve membrane fluidity and increase brain levels of serotonin. They suggest that fish oil supplementation should be considered in treatment protocols for patients displaying aggressive behaviors.

Source: Psychiatry Research, 2008. Submitted by Dr. Deepti Sadhwani. Dr. Sadhwani incorporates quality fish oil into her practice located at Quality HealthCare, 12920 US Highway 1, in Sebastian. Contact her office at 772-581-2373, 772-581-1316, or

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