Food and Behaviour Research

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Nutrition, Neurotoxicants and Aggressive Behaviour


Antisocial behaviour, such as violence, is explained not only by the social environment, as was long believed. Also nutrients and neurotoxicants might play a role. Whether this is the case was studied in this thesis.

In two empirical studies possible relations between nutrients and behaviour were investigated. In the first study, levels of nutrients in blood samples of forensic psychiatric patients were measured. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids appeared to occur mainly in aggressive patients.

In a second study, young detainees were provided with food supplements (multi-vitamins and fish oil). As compared to detainees in a placebo group their antisocial behaviour decreased.

A literature search was conducted to find out if environmental neurotoxicants and criminal behaviour are related. Evidence indicates that lead in the environment decreases intelligence in children and might cause violent behaviour later in life. Studying other environmental pollutants on these effects is recommended.


Anyone interested in the role of nutrition and other environmental influences on antisocial behaviour would benefit from reading this thesis, which not only documents the authors' own research in this area, but provides a scholarly and detailed review of the field, covering theory, experimental evidence and clinical trials.

For more details of this and related research, see also