Dietary counselling plus omega-3 supplementation in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: protocol for a randomized wait-list controlled pilot trial (the “EASe-GAD Trial”)

Monique Aucoin*, Laura LaChance, Inge van der Wurff, Sean Miller, Umadevi Naidoo, Andrew Jenkins, Kieran Cooley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Anxiety disorders are prevalent and disabling conditions involving excessive worry and tension. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the most common anxiety disorder, affects 5% of individuals from high-income countries and many individuals report that treatment options are not accessible, effective, or tolerable. Clinical evidence suggests that nutrition interventions, based on the Mediterranean diet and supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly improve symptoms of depression; however, the effect of nutrition interventions on anxiety symptoms has not been studied in a clinical population. The primary objective of the present study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a dietary counselling and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation intervention delivered to adult women with GAD. The secondary objectives include assessing changes in anxiety symptom severity, assessing changes in quality of life, assessing changes in biomarkers, and evaluating the components of the program. Methods: This study is a randomized, wait-list controlled pilot trial delivering a 12-week, dietary counselling intervention and omega-3 supplementation to 50 adult women with GAD. Participants will complete seven individual counselling sessions which include education, personalized recommendations, mindful eating techniques, motivational interviewing, and goal setting. They will be provided with recipes, instructional videos, and food items. The intervention is designed based on the Social Cognitive Theory and previous research that has been done by the author team to identify dietary constituents with the most evidence to support their use in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Questionnaires and blood work will be completed at baseline, after the waiting period (for those in the waitlist group), and after the intervention. Discussion: Results from this study will lay the foundation for future large-scale studies in this area and may provide preliminary evidence of the role of diet counselling and omega-3 supplementation in the management of GAD. Research on the role of nutrition in psychiatric care has been identified as a priority by a number of international organizations. The present trial directly addresses the call for the research that is most needed to advance the field. Trial registration: This protocol was registered at on October 10, 2022; NCT05573672 . Trial sponsor: The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, 1255 Sheppard Ave E, Toronto, ON M2K 1E2, 416–498-1255. Steering committee: Composed of MA, LL, KC, IvdW, SM, UN, AJ. The committee meets monthly to oversee the trial. Protocol identifier: CCNM_EASe-GADCT_2201v4.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Anxiety
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Mental health
  • Nutrition
  • Omega-3
  • Psychiatry


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