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Influence of Supplementary Vitamins, Minerals and Essential Fatty Acids on Antisocial Behaviour of Young Adult Prisoners: Randomised, Placebo-Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
The British Journal of Psychiatry Volume: 181 Dated: January 2002 Pages: 22-28
C. B. Gesch; Sean M. Hammond; Sarah E. Hampson
Date Published
January 2002
7 pages
Since there is evidence that offenders consume diets that lack essential nutrients that could adversely affect their behavior, this study empirically examined whether physiologically adequate intakes of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids reduced antisocial behavior.
An experimental, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of nutritional supplements provided to 231 young-adult prisoners compared disciplinary offenses before and during supplementation. The study found that compared with those receiving placebos, those receiving the active capsules committed an average of 26.3 percent (95 percent CI 8.3-44.33 percent) fewer offenses (P=0.03, two-tailed). Compared to baseline, the effect on those taking active supplements for a minimum of 2 weeks (n=172) was an average 35.1 percent (95 percent CI 16.3-53.9 percent) reduction of offences (P < 0.001, two-tailed), while those receiving placebos remained within standard error. The overall conclusion of the study is that inmates' antisocial behavior in prisons, including violence, are reduced by their consumption of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, with similar implications for those eating poor diets while living in the community. (publisher abstract modified)