Food and Behaviour Research

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Preliminary evidence that acute long-chain omega-3 supplementation reduces cardiovascular reactivity to mental stress: a randomized and placebo controlled trial

Ginty AT, Conklin SM (2012) Biol Psychol 89(1) 269-72. 

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Exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Some evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids improve cardiovascular function. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of an acute low dose of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids on young, healthy individuals.


Participants (n=34) were randomly assigned to either 21-days of omega-3 fatty acids (1.4 g EPA and DHA) or matched placebo.

Cardiovascular measurements were obtained in the laboratory during baseline and during a standard mental arithmetic task, where participants were instructed to engage in serial subtractions by 17s from a four-digit number and cardiovascular reactivity to the task was calculated.


Mean arterial pressure reactivity was significantly reduced by supplementation (F(1,32)=5. 12, p=.03, η(2)=.144) but not by placebo.


Supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cardiovascular reactivity to stress.