Health

Peaceful Living Through Chemistry

By Lauren GravitzNov 1, 2002 12:00 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.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.