A clinical trial conducted by the National Institutes for Health has been investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on the brain.
The research suggests that violent behavior could be caused in part by nutritional deficiencies.
Modern industrialized diets could be changing brain chemistry and function. Over the last century, omega-3 fats have been overtaken in the diet by omega-6 fats, which come from vegetable oils.
A lack of the essential fats needed by the brain may be causing mental problems ranging from depression to aggression.
NIH researchers gave 80 volunteers, who had responded to an ad seeking aggressive alcoholics, either 2 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil, or corn oil placebos, for a period of three months. The researchers have reported "startling changes" in the violent tendencies of the subjects being given fish oil.
A similar experiment in the UK showed that when young men in prison were fed multivitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, the number of violent offences they committed while in prison fell by 37 percent. The Dutch government is currently conducting a similar trial.