HOUGHTON, Mich. — Fish oil supplements may protect the heart in stressful situations, according to a study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology.
Jason Carter, a researcher at Michigan Technological University, conducted the study with 67 healthy volunteer test participants in their 20s. Over a 2-month period, they were either given 9 g of fish oil pills or 9 g of olive oil as a placebo. The test subjects were screened for heart rate, blood pressure and other related metrics. At the end of the test period, both groups took a mental arithmetic test that involved adding and subtracting numbers in their head. Their stress response was measured at that time.
“Those in the fish oil group showed blunted heart rate reactivity while they were stressed compared to those who took olive oil," Carter said. "Similarly, the total [muscle sympathetic nerve activity] reactivity to mental stress was also blunted in the fish oil group.”
There was not much difference between the two groups at rest, however.