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.
Keywords: Arachidonic acid; Autonomic nerve; Aversive memory; Fish oil; Physiologic measures; n-3.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.