Association between high omega-3 intake and lower murder rates

NIH Study Found an Association Between High Omega-3 Intake and Lower Murder Rates

You might be due for a dietary change if you have an overpowering desire to murder someone.

According to ongoing research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Oxford University, omega-3 fatty acids may help the brain suppress murderous impulses. As detailed in a New York Times article earlier this month, a 2001 NIH study found an association between high omega-3 intake and lower murder rates.

More recently, Oxford scientists enrolled about 230 British prisoners who were given an omega-3 supplement or placebo. Results showed a significant drop in assaults and other antisocial behaviors in the omega-3 group, but little change in the placebo group. Further Oxford research is now underway, and similar trials are being conducted in Norway and Holland.

According to the Times, a study in Finland revealed that prisoners with a record of violent crimes tended to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. In a follow up study, symptoms of anger were cut in half when omega-3 supplements were given to subjects with a history of substance abuse.

The Finland team theorizes that omega-3s prompt neuron growth in the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that manages impulsive behavior.

“Does Eating Salmon Lower the Murder Rate?” Stephen Mihm, The New York Times, 4/16/06,