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This dietary supplement can reduce aggression by 30%

By Published On: June 1, 20243.3 min readViews: 2470 Comments on This dietary supplement can reduce aggression by 30%
Omega-3-rich fish oil supplements have long been recommended for heart health. According to a recent study, they also lessen hostility. According to researchers, the common, safe supplements ought to be used everywhere—from the jail system to the playground.

Bullying and acts of physical and verbal abuse are examples of overt aggressiveness. Subtle indicators include theft, starting fires, vandalism, and property damage. Both have the potential to harm relationships and have legal repercussions. It should go without saying that less violent behavior would benefit society in many ways. It looks like a new study found a technique to accomplish that.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) discovered that ubiquitous omega-3 supplementation, independent of age or gender, decreased aggressiveness.

Adrian Raine, a neurocriminologist at Penn and the study’s lead and corresponding author, stated, “I think the time has come to implement omega-3 supplementation to reduce aggression, irrespective of whether the setting is the community, the clinic, or the criminal justice system.” Omega-3 is not a panacea that will address the issue of violence in our culture. Can it, however, be helpful? These results strongly suggest that it can, and we ought to begin applying the newfound understanding.

For a while now, Omega-3 has had an odd relationship with aggressive conduct. A study conducted in 2001 by senior clinical investigator Dr. Joseph Hibbeln of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) found a link between reduced homicide rates and greater fish eating, which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The next year, nutritional supplements containing vitamins, minerals, and vital fatty acids were supplied to British convicts as part of a study conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Supplements were found to reduce violence and bad behavior in prisoners.

The current study’s researchers wanted to see if omega-3 was useful for treating all types of aggression in addition to looking at how omega-3 supplements affected aggression. In psychology, there is a difference between “reactive” aggression—which necessitates planning—and “reactive” aggression, which is an impulsive reaction to a perceived danger or provocation.



A meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled studies that specifically evaluated hostility in individuals receiving omega-3 supplements was carried out by the researchers. They paid particular attention to aggressive behavior rather than more general characteristics like hostility, which is more of an attitude, and rage, which is seen more as a mood or emotion. Research in which extra nutritional supplements—like calcium and vitamin D—were added but were also looked at by the researchers as possible moderators.

Regardless of age, gender, initial diagnosis, length of therapy, or dosage, a slight short-term benefit associated with omega-3 supplementation was observed. The researchers believe this effect is equivalent to a 30% decrease in aggressiveness. It’s noteworthy that omega-3 was shown to lessen aggressiveness, both proactive and reactive. Because only one of the 19 laboratories conducting the experiments followed up with participants after supplementation ended, the researchers were only able to obtain short-term data.



The researchers describe how they believe omega-3 works. Prior research has indicated that there is a cognitive and neurochemical foundation for aggressive and violent behavior. Furthermore, omega-3 is recognized to be important for maintaining the structure and functionality of the brain, controlling neurotransmitter and gene expression, and lowering inflammation in the brain.



Therefore, “it is reasonable to believe that omega-3 supplementation could play a causal role in reducing aggression by upregulating brain mechanisms that may be dysfunctional in individuals, given the assumption that there is, in part, a neurobiological basis to aggression, given the undeniable fact that omega-3 is pervasively involved in multiple facets of neuronal biology,” the researchers said.

Further research are needed to establish the long-term impact of omega-3 supplementation on lowering aggressiveness. Further study directions include investigating if heredity influences omega-3 treatment and whether MRI scans are useful in determining whether omega-3 improves brain functioning. According to the researchers, there isn’t any risk associated with taking this readily accessible, low-cost nutritional supplement in the interim, even for children.


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