Food and Behaviour Research

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Omega-3 supplements reduce self-reported physical aggression in healthy adults.

Bègue L, Zaalberg A, Shankland R, Duke A, Jacquet J, Kaliman P, Pennel L, Chanove M, Arvers P, Bushman BJ. (2018) Psychiatry Res.  261 307-311. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.12.038. Epub 2017 Dec 15. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


There is emerging evidence that Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) supplements can decrease aggression. However, experimental studies with adults from non-specific populations are scarce. We hypothesized that Omega-3 supplements would decrease self-reported aggression among non-clinical participants.

In a double-blind randomized trial, two groups of participants (N = 194) aged 18-45 from the general population followed a 6-weeks treatment with 638mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 772mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per day or the equivalent quantity of copra oil (placebo). 
Self-reported aggressiveness was measured at baseline and after the 6-week treatment period.

Findings showed that 
Omega-3 supplements significantly decreased self-reported aggressiveness at the end of the 6-week period (d = 0.31). In conclusion, this experiment indicates that Omega-3 administration has beneficial effects in reducing aggression among the general population.


Free full text of this article is available online here via the Researchgate profile of Ap Zaalberg PhD - an author on the current study, who works at the Ministry of Security and Justice, the Netherlands, Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), carrying out research in Forensic Science, Nutritional Biochemistry and Nutrition and Dietetics.

This randomised controlled trial, involving adults from the general population, adds to the mounting research evidence that an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce aggression and other forms of antisocial behaviour (as well as many other mental health problems, including depression and anxiety).

See also:

And for a recent blog article discussing this research: