The Guardian reports and Clayton Cramer’s blog has summarized the research on a potential link between an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and increased violence.

Here’s the evidence so far.

  • In the UK, imprisoned young men fed multivitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids had a 37% decrease in violent offences
  • Also in the UK, fish oil improved the behavior and reduced aggression among children with severe behavioral difficulties
  • In the U.S., 30 patients with violent records given omega-3 supplements had one-third less hostility and irritability, regardless of whether they were relapsing and drinking again

On the other hand, kids without behavioral problems don’t respond to omega-3 rich diets in the same way.

The links above discuss the potential mechanisms. It’s related to omega-6, “The Queen of Fats,” which was discussed here before

If a small percentage of our population has a serious inability to control rage because of a dietary problem, it’s something to fix.

It also raises lots of legal questions — even resurrecting the “Twinkie Defense.” Is it a justification for breaking the law? Should offenders be sentenced to jail and/or dietary counseling? Can you incarcerate someone who has a “proven” dietary deficiency?

Who is ultimately responsible for your eating habits?

10/19/06 10:43 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.