Fish Oil for Anxiety: Does It Work?
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
- Learn whether fish oil supplements are able to treat anxiety and what other remedies are available to help you deal with stress.
Medically reviewed by: Eric Venn-Watson, M.D.
Many of our lives have become busier, rates of anxiety are at an all time high, and even the most laid back among us have definitely felt the pressure of making life work with everything we have on our plate.
Anxiety is a serious condition that involves an inability to relax or feel relief from stress. Persistent feelings of worry, fear, or lack of control can severely impact a person’s quality of life. Anxiety, if left untreated, can become crippling.
While the vast majority of us don’t experience clinical levels of anxiety, daily stress is enough to make us feel bad and negatively impact our health.
If you’re looking for ways to manage anxiety naturally, you may have turned to fish oil. Fish oil has been studied for many health benefits, including potential ability to reduce stress levels and aid in managing anxiety.
We’ll cover whether or not fish oil works, what other supplements are available to help you manage stress, and what else you can do to promote a healthy emotional balance.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is exactly what it sounds like; oil taken from the flesh and organs of certain types of fish. Fish oil is most often harvested from the flesh and skins of certain types of fish, and sometimes (in the case of cod liver oil) from the livers of fish.
Fish oil that you find in supplement form is most often a blend of oils taken from several different types of fish like herring, tuna, mackerel, and even anchovies.
People take fish oil supplements to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known as essential fatty acids because our bodies need them to function, but cannot make them on their own. As such, we need to get our omega-3s from food, and fish oil is a good source.
Fish Oil for Anxiety
The omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil has been studied for its potential effects on patients who suffer from anxiety. Research was conducted based on the fact that nations with the lowest occurrences of reported anxiety and anxiety related disorders were also nations that consumed large amounts of fish.
Researchers discovered that omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA taken by test subjects in the form of supplemental pills, had very little to no effect on the subject’s level of anxiety.
While it’s true that fish containing omega-3 fatty acids are nutritious and can be a part of a balanced diet, the researchers concluded that supplementing with fish oil to treat anxiety was not beneficial.
While the studies did not support fish oil as a treatment for anxiety, they did support fish oil as a preventive solution. Omega-3 fatty acid is beneficial for supporting healthy brain and cell function, which may be able to keep you from experiencing feelings of nervousness or anxiousness.
The main omega-3 fatty acid that appears to have preventive ability is EPA.
Aside from not being a cure for anxiety, fish oil is also notorious for delivering a fishy aftertaste and “fish burps” when taken in supplement form, making it a less than desirable supplement for many would-be users.
A Better Solution
Even though fish oil may not be the best solution for handling your stress, there are still options for dealing with and managing stress that are natural and effective.
An increasing body of research shows that a particular odd-chain fatty acid called pentadecanoic acid may be a better solution for dealing with various mood related issues, and for supporting your body and overall wellness in whole.†*
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is a sturdy fatty acid found in whole dairy products and some fish. Because dietary guidelines have told us for centuries we should avoid fat, you probably don’t find yourself consuming whole milk and real butter very often.
C15:0 is likely the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years, which means in addition to omega-3, our bodies can’t make it, but require it to function properly.†
C15:0 helps support your overall health by deep diving into your cells and supercharging their function.† Think of it like a jump start when your car battery dies.
As we get older, our cellular function naturally declines, which is why we experience aging. Cell walls become weaker, mitochondria slow energy production, and regeneration happens more slowly.
C15:0 helps your body and cells by:†*
- Getting into your cell walls and helping to fortify and strengthen them, protecting them from external stressors and oxidative damage.
- Repairing mitochondrial function so your cells are more energized, which leads to better organ and system function.
While C15:0 starts working on the cellular level, the benefits of can C15:0 extend to your entire wellbeing, including:†*
- Healthy metabolism. Everyone knows metabolism gets a little slower with each passing year. In addition to eating healthfully and getting enough exercise, C15:0 can help ensure your metabolism works as it should.
- Balanced immunity. Our immunity can become unbalanced due to advancing age and environmental stressors. C15:0 helps support your immune system, bringing it back into homeostasis.
C15:0 helps give your body a fighting chance against aging, and it may also beneficial in helping you manage stress.†
C15:0 and Stress
When we experience life situations that cause us stress, our bodies immediately respond by producing cortisol, which makes us feel anxious and nervous. Once this initial response happens, the hippocampus in our brain helps to slow the release of cortisol, so we can keep calm.
Continual levels of stress, however, can literally have a shrinking effect on the hippocampus, making us feel more anxious and tense.
This is where C15:0 comes to the rescue.*† Our hippocampus is home to a family of receptors called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, or PPARs (pronounced pee-pars). When these receptors are activated, we can experience less stress and fewer feelings of worry.
C15:0 is a fatty acid that binds to these receptors, which may help to regulate stress and make it more manageable.†*
How to Get More C15:0 in Your Diet
Many people do not consume enough whole fat dairy to get the amount of C15:0 your body needs daily. Further, whole fat dairy products can contain other fats and calories that aren’t healthy for us. Thankfully, there’s a solution.
Fatty15 is a daily supplement containing FA15TM a pure powder, vegan-friendly and free fatty acid form of C15:0 that you can easily take in a once a day capsule.
Fatty15 was created to help boost your health by providing FA15TM, the purest form of C15:0, which can go straight to work strengthening your cells and keeping them functioning properly.*†
Fatty15 is the solution to get C15:0 in your diet without any other ingredients that could be detrimental to your health. It can be a way to help manage your stress, support your overall wellness, and round out your health stack.*†
Fatty15 is vegan-friendly, pure, safe, and well tolerated. Fatty15 customers have reported that just one small dose a day has been enough to keep them protected from overwhelming feelings of nervousness, high tension, and restlessness.
Other Ways To Stay Balanced
When life gets tough, how you manage your stress matters. Your quality of life changes dramatically when you learn holistic, natural ways to manage your mood.
Here are some ways you can start feeling better fast.
- Exercise. You know you need to get moving, but have struggled to find motivation. If you’re dealing with high levels of stress, exercise may help elevate your mood and help you feel better. Exercise releases endorphins which help you feel calm, happy, and at peace. Regular exercise has a cumulative effect on your health, promoting better emotional stability.
- Balanced diet. Making sure you eat properly during times of high stress is crucial in maintaining mental focus and balance. Certain foods have been shown to help you destress and feel better.
- Practice yoga or meditation. Carving out time in your week to refocus and refresh your mind and body is essential in promoting healthy stress levels. Many individuals turn to yoga and/or meditation as a healthy way to decompress after a particularly long week.
Incorporating fatty15 into your health and wellness routine can help you feel more balanced and better able to handle stress.*
Fish oil doesn’t appear to be able to treat anxiety, but certain omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA, may be able to help promote brain health, which can help protect your mood.
C15:0 is a fatty acid that is scientifically proven to benefit your body by helping maintain your cellular health, improve your total wellness, and may even regulate your mood.†
You can get relief from big feelings of stress and pressure by practicing good lifestyle habits, eating a balanced diet, and incorporating fatty15 into your health stack.*†
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.