Omega-3 research could save hundreds of military lives & billions of dollars


Such is the headline of Nutra newsletter 14 January 2011.

US Army medical research in Iraq could help to stop hundreds of service personnel committing suicide and save billions of dollars if it proves the theory that supplementing soldiers’ diets with omega-3 improves their mental health and stress resilience.

The two-month double blind placebo study is being conducted by Dr. Daniel Johnston, US Army Lieutenant Colonel and Brigade Surgeon for the enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade deployed in Iraq.

Stress-related disorders are among the most prevalent and expensive medical consequences of participation in military operations, according to Dr Johnston.   In addition to suicide prevention, supplementing soldiers’ diets with omega-3s may speed recovery from traumatic brain injury and improve the cockpit skills of aircrew, he added.

The study aims to determine whether taking omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil daily (2.52 grams) for eight weeks will improve soldier mood and perceived stress compared with a placebo treatment of omega-6 corn oil. Mood and perceived stress will be assessed by cognitive and stress resilience metrics.

Conducted at Camp Taji and Camp Diamondback at Mosul in northern Iraq, the trial, which will run until 26 February 2011, includes soldiers who have served in Iraq for various lengths of time performing a variety of functions from infantry to aviation.  Results of the study are expected to be published in May 2011.

Source: Nutra newsletter 14 January 2011

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