Correlation between serum fatty acids and the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder
The authors of the study "Serum Levels of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Risk of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" had previously observed in an open study that supplementation with long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]) prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while a randomised study showed that the intensity of symptoms decreased in women.
On this basis, they analysed the composition of serum fatty acids in patients with severe injuries (not medicated with antidepressants) participating in the Tachikawa Cohort of Motor Vehicle Accident Study, administered CAPS (Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale) by trained psychiatrists in structured interviews to determine whether they met the complete or partial PTSD criteria. Six months after the traffic accident, levels of arachidonic acid (AA) and EPA were inversely related to the risk of PTSD and this also occurred with respect to baseline serum levels of both fatty acids (however, no such association was observed with DHA).
This findings match those recently published in a meta-analysis of randomised studies that showed a significant antidepressant effect of EPA in patients with major depression.