New study links omega-3 deficiency as a major cause of increased aggression


A new study from the University of Pennsylvania has found that omega-3, the fatty acids found in oily fish and available as food supplements, could reduce aggression in children and adults.

The study looked at 4,000 participants over 28 years and found a clear reduction in aggression in those who were given either an omega-3 supplement, or ate more fish.

Researchers built on previous studies of omega-3 affects on aggression – a study in UK prisons found that giving omega-3 supplements to inmates, compared to placebos, reduced violent offences by more than a third.

The authors of the new study, Adrian Raine and Lia Brodrick say: “Based on this evidence our considered opinion is that there is now sufficient evidence to begin to implement omega-3 supplementation to reduce aggression in children and adults. whether the setting is community, the clinic or criminal justice system.”

“Less than 5% of children in the UK achieve the basic recommended levels of fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake” says Dr Simon Dyall, nutritional neuroscientist at the University of Roehampton. “Even these recommendations are too low, according to the evidence regarding brain function. Many children and young adults eat no fish at all and have no omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The evidence is more than sufficient to recommend we take action now to protect their brains.”

In the same way that GPs test vitamin D these scientists believe we need to test both children and adults presenting with ADHD, depression, anxiety and aggression for their omega-3 index.

“In Japan, where they eat a lot of seafood, the level is 10% and rates of violence, depression, suicide and Alzheimer’s are a fraction of those in the UK. People in the UK and US average 4% on the pinprick omega-3 index. You need over 8% for a healthy brain. Many offenders test as low as 2%.” says founder, Patrick Holford. “You can’t build a healthy brain without omega-3. Our children are suffering. There is more than enough evidence of this.

“Yet there is no government recommendation in the UK of how much omega-3 we need. The advice to eat fish twice a week in neither enough, nor heeded. That is why we are helping people help themselves by testing their omega-3 index and advising them accordingly. But we need this done on a national scale, especially in poorer communities. If doctors can test and prescribe vitamin D why can’t they test and prescribe omega-3?” offer a pin prick home test for omega-3 backed up with a free online Cognitive Function Test and diet and lifestyle questionnaire that assesses omega-3 status and other factors that are important to brain function and development.