There are too many suicides among soldiers in our military (and even one is too many). One would assume this is due to getting "Dear John" letters from wives and girlfriends back home or from the carnage and stress of being in Iraq and Afghanistan. But there’s something else that has been linked to soldier suicide–something strange: a new study suggests that low levels of the highly unsaturated omega-3 essential fatty acids (the kind found in fish oil) may be associated with increased risk of suicide. Should we blame C-rations?
Researchers discovered this following analysis of a large random sampling of suicide deaths among US military personnel on active duty between 2002 and 2008. Researcher Michael D. Lewis says, "We were surprised to find just how low the levels of omega-3 fatty acids were in the entire sample. When we compared the 1,400 samples with the lowest levels of DHA to the remaining 200, there was a 62% percent increased risk that the samples were from a documented suicide. This represents a potential simple nutritional intervention that warrants further investigation."
Researcher Joseph Hibbeln agrees and says, "Our findings add to an extensive body of research that points to a fundamental role for DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against mental health problems and suicide risks. For example a previous placebo-controlled trial demonstrated that 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day reduced suicidal thinking by 45% along with depression and anxiety scores among individuals with recurrent self-harm."
In a prior study, researchers found low blood levels of DHA correlated with hyperactivity of brain regions in a pattern that closely resembles the pathology of major depression and suicide risk. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that the body cannot make, so they must come from food sources. DHA, the major omega-3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain, is important throughout life for optimal brain development and function. Seafood is a major dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have associated low levels of omega-3 fats or low dietary intake of seafood, with suicide, thoughts of suicide, and depression.
So if you’re feeling depressed, EAT FISH! And if you’re too fat, download Anne Strieber’s famous diet book "What I Learned from the Fat Years." At less than $5, it’s a bargain that WORKS, and you can believe us when we say that being slimmer will CHEER YOU UP!
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