Matsumura K, Noguchi H, Nishi D, Hamazaki K, Hamazaki T, Matsuoka YJ. (2016) J Affect Disord. May 30. pii: S0165-0327(16)30239-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.05.054. [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: Psychophysiological symptoms (e.g., pounding heart) are known to be a prominent feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a beneficial potential pharmacological effect of preventing these psychophysiological symptoms, no clinical data is yet available. Therefore, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Japanese accident survivors.
METHODS: A total of 83 participants received either omega-3 PUFAs (1470mg docosahexaenoic acid and 147mg eicosapentaenoic acid per day) or placebo within 10 days of the accidental injury. After 12-week supplementation, participants performed script-driven imagery of their traumatic event during monitoring of their heart rate and skin conductance.
RESULTS: Analysis revealed that heart rate during both rest and script-driven imagery was significantly lower in the omega-3 group than the placebo group, whereas baseline heart rate was comparable between the two groups.
LIMITATIONS: The present trial was conducted at a single-center in Japan and psychophysiological symptoms of PTSD in most participants were not serious.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that post-trauma supplementation of omega-3 PUFAs might be effective for the secondary prevention of psychophysiological symptoms of PTSD.