Fish oil supplementation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in women


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone experiences a traumatic event (a serious accident, combat situation, sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attack, natural disasters, etc.). After a traumatic event, most people have stress-related reactions, but not everyone develops PTSD (reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind them of it, having negative changes in beliefs and feelings or staying on permanent alert) , in a way that interfere with their lives.

In an open study (study in which both the researchers and participants know which treatment is being administered), omega-3 supplementation (DHA and EPA) has been suggested to prevent PTSD. On this basis, a group of Japanese researchers designed a randomized study (study in which the participants are randomly assigned to separate groups in order to compare different treatments) to determine whether fish oil supplementation can attenuate PTSD symptoms. Participants (members of the Disaster Medical Assistance Team who were involved in the Great East Japan Earthquake) were randomly assigned to receive either fish oil supplementation (7 capsules/day, each containing 320 mg of fish oil, 70% DHA and 7% EPA) plus psychoeducation or only psychoeducation. After 12 weeks, they fulfilled a questionnaire about PTSD symptoms. In women, there was a significant difference between the two groups: those in the supplementation plus psychoeducation group had lower scores in the questionnaire.

This finding suggests that fish oil supplementation may be useful for attenuating PTSD in women, an interesting issue in mental healthcare.