The study was undertaken to estimate the size of the impact of n-3 fatty acids in psychological stress and the extent to which it is mediated via proinflammatory cytokines. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze data from 194 healthy Australians. Biomarkers used were erythrocyte polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA)), ex-vivo stimulated secretion of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukins (IL-1 and IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)). Stress was measured with the perceived stress scale (PSS-10), found to comprise three factors: Coping (items 4, 7, 5), Overwhelm (2, 10, 6 and 8), and Emotional (1, 9 and 3). This modeling demonstrated that the effects of DHA on coping are largely direct effects (0.26, 𝑡 = 2 . 0 5) and were not significantly mediated via the suppression of proinflammatory cytokines. Future modeling should explore whether adding EPA to the model would increase the significance of the mediation pathways.
Bradbury, J, Brooks, L, Myers, SP 2012, 'Are the adaptogenic effects of omega 3 fatty acids mediated via inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines?', Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012.
Publisher's version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/209197