Hansen, Anita L.; Olson, Gina; Dahl, Lisbeth; Thornton, David; Grung, Bjørn; Graff, Ingvild E.; Frøyland, Livar; Thayer, Julian F.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Atlantic salmon consumption on underlying biological mechanisms associated with anxiety such as heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate (HR) as well as a measure of self-reported anxiety. Moreover, these biological and self-reported outcome measures were investigated in relation to specific nutrients; vitamin D status, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Ninety-five male forensic inpatients were randomly assigned into a Fish (Atlantic salmon three times per week from September to February) or a Control group (alternative meal, e.g., chicken, pork, or beef three times per week during the same period). HRV measured as the root mean square of successive differences (rMSSD), HR, state- and trait-anxiety (STAI), were assessed before (pre-test) and at the end of the 23 weeks dietary intervention period (post-test). The Fish group showed significant improvements in both rMSSD and HR. The Fish group also showed significant decreases in state-anxiety. Finally, there was a positive relationship between rMSSD and vitamin D status. The findings suggest that Atlantic salmon consumption may have an impact on mental health related variables such as underlying mechanisms playing a key role in emotion-regulation and state-anxiety.