Monday, October 8, 2012
Soldiers who commit suicide are more likely to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their brains, according to a 2011 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Now the Veterans Administration wants to know if increasing omega-3 levels with fish oil in veterans could reduce their chances of committing suicide.
The VA is teaming up with the Medical University of South Carolina and the National Institutes of Health to conduct a $10 million study on the matter, according to the Associated Press.
Dr. Bernadette Marriott of the MUSC tells the A.P. that some studies have already shown raising omega-3 levels can reduce symptoms of depression:
"One of the questions this study hopes to address is do we see a clinical effect that is strong enough that the military would then consider providing supplements to all military personnel, not just those who are already experiencing depression?"
According to statistics provided by the VA, the suicide rate among veterans is twice as high as that of the general public.