Study Reviews

Omega-3, a key factor in soldiers’ mood

  • 02/13/2017

A recent study shows that low blood concentrations of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and lack of physical activity can be important factors in influencing the mood of soldiers returning from war. A previous study, also carried out on soldiers, found that low blood omega-3 PUFA levels are associated with a greater risk of suicide.

At Texas A&M University, a sample of 100 soldiers was used to identify factors affecting soldiers’ mood on return. Fatty acid blood levels, vitamin D status and physical activity were assessed. To do this, blood samples were taken from the participants, their mood was assessed using Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and their resilience assessed using the Dispositional Resiliency Scale-15, anthropometric measures were taken and scores calculated from fitness tests. A statistical model was developed from the data to predict the degree of depression (as determined by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9). The model accurately predicted depression in 80% of participants, with a sensitivity of 76.9% and specificity of 80.5%. Two important variables in the model were omega-3 PUFA blood concentration and degree of physical activity.