Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

Peaceful Living Through Chemistry

By Lauren GravitzNovember 1, 2002 6:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Oxford physiologist Bernard Gesch has a suggestion for one way to keep the peace: Feed criminals a balanced diet. He and his colleagues supplied vitamin supplements and other micronutrients to a group of 82 prison inmates and then compared their conduct with that of 90 convicts who received placebos. The well-nourished convicts committed 35 percent fewer offenses than their placebo-fed peers. "Nutrients are required for biological functioning," Gesch says. Might some violent acts be a symptom of malnutrition? Omega-3 fatty acids seem to increase cells' ability to take in serotonin. Low levels of this neurotransmitter are associated with depression and aggression. B vitamins and minerals such as chromium and zinc are required to utilize glucose; poor glucose metabolism also seems predictive of violent behavior. "We've seriously underestimated the importance of health and nutrition in a major area—mental health and behavior," Gesch says. He posits that nutrition programs could help reduce prison violence and, more important, could help prevent the development of violent behavior among children.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In