Food and Behaviour Research

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01 August 2014 - Health Canal - Study of NSW inmates shows a lack of Omega-3s relates to aggression

Prison inmates who are low in omega-3s are more aggressive and more likely to have attention deficit disorder (ADD) behaviours, preliminary findings of a year-long study suggests.


For full details of this Australian research study, see

The UK study mentioned in this news article can be found here:
  • Gesch et al, 2002 Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners. Randomised, placebo-controlled trial.

See also

The preliminary findings, featured on ABC TV’s Catalyst on 31 July, suggest giving omega-3 supplements to young offenders might improve mental health and decrease violent behaviour.

We found a high variability in omega-3 status in the prison population, and inmates with lower omega-3 index were more aggressive and had higher ADD scores,” Professor Meyer (UOW’s School of Medicine, who led the ‘Omega Man’ study) said.

A previous small study in the UK found a 35 per cent reduction in antisocial behaviour after giving omega-3 supplements to young offenders. However, this is the first study to examine blood omega-3 index in conjunction with aggression and attention deficit assessments.

Psychologist and Associate Professor Mitch Byrne, from UOW’s School of Psychology, who was also involved in the study, said: “Our preliminary results suggest that by introducing more omega-3s into prisons, we may be able to decrease aggression levels in inmates and help protect the community from violent reoffenders on release.”