Nutrition and Diet

Army Looking At Possible Benefits Of Fish Oil In Reducing Suicides

More About The Benefits Of Fish Oil

Benefits of fish oil - omega 3 pillsA lot has been said about the benefits of fish oil, particularly DHA. Some of these benefits are real and others hype. For example, taking fish oil during pregnancy could help in the development of the baby’s brain, but it won’t produce an Einstein. Yet it is still a good benefit to have. According to an article posted on USA Today, the army is looking at possible fish oil benefits in preventing suicides.

The Army is eager to know whether omega-3 fatty acids not only are good for the heart, but also might deter soldiers from killing themselves.

“I’m all over it, because I’m looking for something to help,” says Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, who has been working for years to reduce the service’s record number of suicides.

Research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry last month showed that men in the service with low levels of an omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, were 62% more likely to commit suicide. The researchers compared routine blood samples taken from 800 servicemembers from 2002 to 2008 — and who months later committed suicide — with samples taken from 800 other servicemembers.

The authors say their findings do not suggest fish oil is a way to deter suicides. The Army suicide rate reached 22 per 100,000 last year, higher than civilians of the same age group.

Omega-3s are found naturally in foods such as fatty fish and walnuts and have been shown to help prevent heart disease. Preliminary studies suggest that the supplements could help relieve symptoms of certain depressions, the Mayo Clinic says. Experts note that fish oil’s potential benefits for mental health need to be confirmed in larger, more rigorous studies.

Even so, the potential psychiatric benefits of omega-3s could be a factor in reducing the suicides, says Joseph Hibbeln, a co-author of the Journal study and nutritional neuroscientist at the National Institutes of HealthSee original story

It is not surprising that benefits of fish oil may include prevention of suicide. After all, fish oil has been said to prevent or reduce depression, one of the leading causes of suicide.

Getting this good stuff can be challenging though. Fresh, cold water fish is not always readily available. The easiest way to get your daily dose of omega-3 is by taking a high quality fish oil pill or two daily.

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