Omega 3 plus vitamin D linked to less anxiety, stress, depression—and better sleep

If you’re stressed, anxious or depressed, you might want to take a look at your diet and nutrient routine. In a clinical trial, reproductive-aged women who had both prediabetes and low vitamin D levels experienced multiple psychological improvements when they took omega-3 and vitamin D, the September 2, 2021 issue of Brain and Behavior reported.1

“To the researchers’ knowledge, the present study is the first on the effect of the concurrent intake of vitamin D and omega-3 on psychological distress in prediabetic women,” authors Masoumeh Rajabi-Naeeni and colleagues announced.

Prediabetes is a stage between a having a healthy fasting blood glucose level and a level characteristic of type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a strong risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes; psychological distress may further increase the risk.

The trial enrolled 168 women between the ages of 15 and 50 years who had elevated serum fasting glucose levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL and low serum vitamin D levels of less 32 ng/mL or less. Participants were divided into groups that received 1,000 mg omega 3 twice per day, 50,000 international units (IU) vitamin D3 every 2 weeks, 1,000 mg omega-3 twice per day plus 50,000 IU vitamin D3 every 2 weeks, or placebos. Validated questionnaires administered at the beginning and end of the trial scored depression, anxiety, stress and sleep quality.

At the trial’s conclusion, anxiety, stress, depression, and sleep quality were significantly improved in all groups except the placebo group in comparison with pre-trial scores. In the group that received both omega 3 and vitamin D, anxiety and sleep quality were significantly improved in comparison with all the other groups while depression and stress were significantly improved compared to placebo.

“In some studies, psychological distresses (depression, anxiety, and long-term stresses) have been proposed as risk factors for diabetes,” the authors wrote. “Given their positive effects on mental health, the concurrent use of these two supplements can be further considered as a measure for preventing type-II diabetes.”

The omega-3 and vitamin D3 combination also positively impacted multiple markers of metabolic health and reduced weight and waist circumference, as reported by the authors in a previous publication.2


Apply What You've Learned: Prediabetes

  • Regular lab tests can determine the presence of prediabetes. The condition is characterized by a fasting blood glucose (sugar) level between 100 to 125 mg/dL.3
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, a marker of long-term glucose control) is another blood test that aids in the diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes. HbA1c levels between 5.7% to 6.4% may indicate prediabetes.3
  • If your physician suggests that you have prediabetes, it is important to take steps immediately to help normalize blood glucose levels. The standard advice to consume a nutritious diet, maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity and stop smoking may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Specific nutrients such as extracts of clove or maqui berry can help improve elevations in glucose that occur after a meal.4,5 This can be helpful for prediabetic and other individuals.


  1. Rajabi-Naeeni M, et al. Brain Behav. 2021 Sep 2:e2342.
  2. Rajabi-Naeeni M, et al. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2020 May 12;12:41.
  3. “Prediabetes.” Mayo Clinic.
  4. Hildago J et al. Panminerva Med. 2014 Jun;56(2 Suppl 3):1-7.
  5. Mohan R et al. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 May 7;19(1):99.

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