DOD Examines Nutrition to Stem Veteran Suicides

The Defense Department will study whether supplementing diets with omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oils, could help reduce suicides among veterans. The study kicks off in January with 350 volunteers, according to an Oct. 26 Pentagon release. The study participants are veterans who have either attempted suicide or are considered at-risk candidates, states the release. “Low omega 3 fatty acids or low levels of any one nutrient are never going to be the sole cause of suicide or depression,” said Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He added, “But when you kick the legs out of that fundamental nutrient, everything else gets worse and everything else gets magnified.” Over a six-month period, half of the participants will receive about four grams of omega 3s each day, while the other half receives placebos. All participants will continue to receive the same mental health care they received before the study. Military leaders have expressed concern at the alarming number of suicides in recent years among those currently in uniform as well as veterans. (AFPS report by Donna Miles) (See also Losing the Suicide Battle)