Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Choline - A Neglected Nutrient Vital for Healthy Brains - BOOK HERE

Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners. Randomised, placebo-controlled trial.

Gesch, C.B., Hammond, S.M., Hampson, S.E., Eves, A., Crowder, M.J. (2002) British Journal of Psychiatry 181 22-8. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text of this article is available online.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: There is evidence that offenders consume diets lacking in essential nutrients and this could adversely affect their behaviour.

AIMS: To test empirically if physiologically adequate intakes of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids cause a reduction in antisocial behaviour.

METHOD: Experimental, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of nutritional supplements on 231 young adult prisoners, comparing disciplinary offences before and during supplementation.

RESULTS: Compared with placebos, those receiving the active capsules committed an average of 26.3% (95% CI 8.3-44.33%) fewer offences (P=0.03, two-tailed). Compared to baseline, the effect on those taking active supplements for a minimum of 2 weeks (n=172) was an average 35.1% (95% CI 16.3-53.9%) reduction of offences (P

CONCLUSIONS: Antisocial behaviour in prisons, including violence, are reduced by vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids with similar implications for those eating poor diets in the community.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

This rigorously conducted randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial showed striking treatment effects in reducing antisocial behaviour by young offenders in a high-security prison from a simple, low-cost nutritional intervention. 


Compared with placebo, nutritional supplementation led to:

  • 26% reduction in all disciplinary incidents
  • 37% reduction in serious incidents, involving actual violence

The importance of these findings is difficult to overstate, although the findings clearly need replication.

The active supplements used provided a wide range of vitamins and minerals (at no more than recommended daily intake levels), as well as omega-3 and omega-6 'essential fatty acids' from fish oil and evening primrose oil.

UPDATES

February 2010. Similar results have been reported by scientists at the Dutch Ministry of Justice. See:


For more information on this topic, please see the following lists, which are regularly updated: