Could omega-3 fatty acids be veterans’ best armor against PTSD? Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina are working to find out.
The Department of Defense, placebo-controlled study, called BRAVO (Better Resiliency Among Veterans with Omega-3s) is studying the effects of the fatty acids on 320 on soldiers at-risk of suicide over a six-month period. The government’s spending $10 million dollars on the three-year study with hopes of affecting the rising tide of suicide among active duty soldiers and veterans, which has reached near epidemic proportions.
Bernadette Marriott, an MUSC researcher working on the study is hopeful. “(Omega-3s) have been shown to be successful in people with depression, in people with PTSD, and individuals with anxiety, and some of the newest studies have shown an improvement in those individuals who abuse alcohol,” she told Charleston’s Counton2 TV.
The study subjects get their daily dose of omegas in a smoothie, not pills. “They’re delivering the omega-3s in a food matrix, in a smoothie form. So the military is looking at ways they can easily deploy into the force,” Adam Ismail, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) told newhope360.com in 2012, when the study was announced. Certain laws put barriers on the amount and type of pills that the U.S. Military can administer to its soldiers, so food-form supplements are ideal.
Similar omega-3 and nutrition-centered military programs exist globally—in Australia, military personnel have targeted dietary guidelines different from those of citizens; and the British Army has initiatives focused on increasing omega-3 intake, Ismail said.
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