Omega-3 Supplementation and Diminished Anger

May 1, 2008


Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease feelings of anger in substance abusers.
Buydens-Branchey L & Branchey M. Psychiatry Research. 157(1-3):95-104, (2008).
Research Service (151/BK), VA New York Harbor Healthcare System - Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY.


The present study (double-blind randomized trial) was conducted on 24 men admitted to the New York Healthcare System substance abuse clinics with a lifelong history of aggressive behaviours and problems with the law. Of these, 11 patients received placebo (control) capsules daily while 13 patients received 2,770 mg of supplemental DHA/EPA daily (consisting of 500 mg DHA plus 2270 mg EPA). At the beginning and after the 3 month period of daily supplementation, anger scoring was measured via administering a modified version of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). DHA/EPA supplementation was found to be superior to placebo in diminishing the anger scores. Further, the anger scores remained decreased in the omega-3 group when tested 3 months following cessation of supplementation. The authors conclude that supplementation with DHA/EPA could be beneficial in the treatment of some individuals with aggressive tendencies.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

These encouraging results from a relatively small clinical trial are worthy of follow-up with much larger numbers of subjects including considerations as to the relative efficacy of EPA , DHA, or varying mixtures thereof. It is noted that the level of administered DHA/EPA daily in the present trial of approx. 3 grams cannot be readily attained by daily fatty fish consumption such that supplementation would need to be a considerable contributor to reach such daily targets.

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