Food and Behaviour Research

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Omega-3-polyunsatured fatty acids (O3PUFAs), compared to placebo, reduced symptoms of occupational burnout and lowered morning cortisol secretion

Jahangard L, Hedayati M, Abbasalipourkabir R, Haghighi M, Ahmadpanah M, Faryadras M, Mikoteit T, Sadeghi Bahmani D, Brand S (2019) Psychoneuroendocrinology.  2019 Jul;109: 104384. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.104384. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Occupational burnout is both a serious health concern at both public and individual levels. Treatment options are psychopharmacological, psychological and physical activity-related interventions. Here, we tested whether, compared to placebo, omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (O3PUFAs) have a positive impact on burnout and morning cortisol secretion.

METHOD:

A total of 43 individuals (mean age: 38.4 years, 76.7% females) took part in the present double-blind and placebo-controlled intervention. Participants were randomly assigned either to the O3PUFA or to the placebo condition. At baseline and again eight weeks later, participants completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and collected morning saliva samples for analysis of the cortisol awakening response (CAR).

RESULTS:

Emotional exhaustion and depersonalization decreased, and sense of personal accomplishment increased over time, but more so in the O3PUFA condition than in the placebo condition. Likewise, CAR decreased over time, but again more so in the O3PUFA condition than in the placebo condition.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present pattern of results suggests that, compared to placebo, administration of daily omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids for eight consecutive weeks positively influences both psychological and physiological markers of occupational burnout.