At first it may seem like it lacks a whole lot of credibility, but if you really think about it, researchers are convinced that people who have a serious deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to display deviant behavior in varying degrees.
What comes to mind when we think of criminals or social deviants?
- That they’re mentally and emotionally unstable
- They suffer from a brain disorder
- They may have had a long history of depression of schizophrenia
- They were probably hyperactive and disruptive as children and were never treated
Of course it’s going to take more convincing research in linking a deficiency of essential fatty acids to criminal tendencies but an increasing number of studies may be pointing us to this direction.
For example, in 2002, a study was initiated in the UK where 231 inmates were given increased doses of fish oil supplements. This led to a 1/3 drop in the number of violent incidents within prison walls. The Singapore Prison System is using the UK model to carry out the same study.
Another study, this time by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted to establish the hypothesis that crime may not necessarily be caused by the person’s genetic make-up but simply by a nutritional deficiency. This conclusion was reached by the 2002 UK study in Aylesbury jail. Closely following the UK initiative are the Dutch and Australian governments. According to an online report published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Dutch authorities are conducting trials to see if indeed nutritional supplements play a role in prison behavior. The same report mentioned Australian Dr. Gordon Parker of the Black Dog Institute who is interested in investigating mood and Omega-3 fatty acids in the brain.
We need not emphasize that the human brain is an intricate network of cells and neurotransmitters, so when a person shows poor concentration, or is hyperactive or has unusual mood swings, the initial suspicion is that the brain is not working the way it’s supposed to be. One would not automatically assume that crime rates or violent behavior in schools and in homes are the outcome of nutritional deficiencies, but the studies above have certainly awakened a nagging curiosity among health circles that the 21st fast food diet could be causing all aggressive behavior. Much research leads to the fact that there is a direct correlation with crime and omega 3 deficiency.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Imagine a young boy who grows up without a mom and dad, and goes from one foster home to the next. What does he do when he’s hungry? He’ll beg, steal or borrow. These are natural reflexes. What he eats of course we’ll probably never know, but on a long term basis, if this boy suffers from nutritional deficiency which he carries with him throughout his life, what would be the consequences on his brain? Sure, there are boys who do get reformed, but would traces of the initial deprivation of the brain linger on?
Omega 3 Supplements for Anger and Aggression
Omega 3 fatty acids have long been touted for their ability to support healthy emotional development and behavior. Fish oil supplements and chewable omega 3s offer wonderful full body support, and a recent study has shown that omega 3 fatty acids may help aggression and anger.
The study tested substance abusers, who are generally regarded as a population that is aggressive and emotionally unstable. One group was given 2250 mg of EPA, 500 mg of DHA, and 250 mg of other polyunsaturated fatty acids, while another group received a placebo. To test the emotional state of the subjects, they were given a modified version of the Profiles of Mood States questionnaire at the start of the study, and then once a month after that. The subject’s history of aggression and legal troubles were also obtained and analyzed at the beginning of the study. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health also discusses the benefits of omega 3 helping to lessen agression and depression in those affected with personality disorders.
After three months the patients on the placebo showed no improvement in behavior, while those who consumed omega 3s displayed a decline in the anger subscale scores on the Profiles of Mood States questionnaire. This study showed the ability of omega 3 fatty acids to help reduce anger and aggression in a volatile population of substance abusers, and fish oil supplements or chewable omega 3 supplements could be beneficial for the emotional and behavioral health of just about everybody.
Of course diet, and a deficiency of omega 3 is not the only reason a child may eventually turn to a life of crime; that’s too simplistic. But, the data is there to make a good point that we must avoid deficiency to allow the brain to function as best as possible. As you can see, it’s important for your child to be taking a daily chewable omega 3 supplement.