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Psychosom Med. 2013 May;75(4):382-9. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e318290a107. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on heart rate variability at rest and during acute stress in adults with moderate hypertriglyceridemia.

Author information

1
Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined the dose-dependent effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation on heart rate variability (HRV) at rest and during standard laboratory stress tasks. We also investigated whether EPA + DHA supplementation was associated with changes in mood state.

METHODS:

This placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, three-period crossover trial (8-week treatment, 6-week washout) compared two doses of EPA + DHA supplementation (0.85 and 3.4 g/d) in 26 adults with elevated triglycerides. After each treatment period, HRV was assessed during an acute stress protocol that included a resting baseline, standard laboratory stress tasks (speech task and cold pressor), and recovery periods. In addition, mood state was assessed.

RESULTS:

Root mean square of successive differences in interbeat interval and total power increased 9.9% and 20.6%, respectively, after the high dose relative to placebo (Tukey p = .016 and .012, respectively). The low dose was not significantly different from the high dose or placebo dose. There was a trend for a treatment effect on high-frequency HRV (p = .058), with 21.0% greater power observed after the high dose compared with placebo (Tukey p = .052). Mood did not differ between treatments, and there was no association between mood state and HRV.

CONCLUSIONS:

In healthy adults with elevated triglycerides, supplementation of 3.4 g/d EPA + DHA resulted in greater HRV, whereas 0.85 g/d EPA + DHA had no effect. These results indicate that EPA + DHA supplementation may improve autonomic tone in adults at increased risk for cardiovascular disease within 8 weeks.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

NCT00504309 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

KEYWORDS:

acute stress; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; heart rate variability; omega-3 fatty acids

PMID:
23592752
PMCID:
PMC3681100
DOI:
10.1097/PSY.0b013e318290a107
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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