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Lipids. 1998 Jul;33(7):663-7.

Docosahexaenoic acid does not affect aggression of normal volunteers under nonstressful conditions. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan.


We previously found that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake prevents aggression enhancement at times of mental stress. In the present study we investigated changes in aggression under nonstressful conditions. Forty-six students of two universities took either DHA-rich fish oil capsules containing 1.5 g DHA (DHA group: 13 males and 9 females) or control oil capsules containing 97% soybean oil plus 3% of another fish oil (control group: 11 males and 13 females) for 3 mon in a double-blind fashion. At the start and end of the study they took an aggression-estimating test (P-F Study) without a stressor component. DHA (5.9 to 8.5%, P < 0.001) and eicosapentaenoic acid (0.7 to 1.5%, P < 0.001) increased in red blood cell phospholipids in the DHA group, while linoleic acid increased slightly (8.3 to 9.1%, P < 0.002) in the soybean oil control group. In the control group, measured aggression levels decreased from 34.8 to 29.4% (P < 0.005), whereas they remained stable in the DHA group (33.5 to 33.8%). The intergroup differences (-5.4 vs. 0.3%) were marginally significant (P < or = 0.05). Aggression levels were stable in the DHA group whether there was stressor (as previously shown) or not. This effect of DHA appears to be interesting, considering the reported association between a low intake of n-3 fatty acids and depression.

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