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).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health