We previously found that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake prevents aggression enhancement at times of mental stress. In the present study we investigated changes in aggression under nonstressful conditions. Forty-six students of two universities took either DHA-rich fish oil capsules containing 1.5 g DHA (DHA group: 13 males and 9 females) or control oil capsules containing 97% soybean oil plus 3% of another fish oil (control group: 11 males and 13 females) for 3 mon in a double-blind fashion. At the start and end of the study they took an aggression-estimating test (P-F Study) without a stressor component. DHA (5.9 to 8.5%, P < 0.001) and eicosapentaenoic acid (0.7 to 1.5%, P < 0.001) increased in red blood cell phospholipids in the DHA group, while linoleic acid increased slightly (8.3 to 9.1%, P< 0.002) in the soybean oil control group. In the control group, measured aggression levels decreased from 34.8 to 29.4% (P < 0.005), whereas they remained stable in the DHA group (33.5 to 33.8%). The intergroup differences (-5.4 vs. 0.3%) were marginally significant (P ≤ 0.05). Aggression levels were stable in the DHA group whether there was stressor (as previously shown) or not. This effect of DHA appears to be interesting, considering the reported association between a low intake of n-3 fatty acids and depression.
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