Using omega-3s as armour for soldiers
Military Medicine, the international journal of Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, has recently published a special issue dedicated to exploring how good nutrition can act as armour for soldiers. This issue focuses on the benefits of a diet high in omega-3. It contains contributions from 3 of the Institute’s Science Advisory Board and its Associate Fellow.
Professor Michael Crawford, IFBB trustee and member of its Science Advisory Board and lead author on a paper published in this issue, has outlined why this publication is so important:
“The food system used in the military was sadly deficient of the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is essential for the signalling systems of the eye and the brain. During strenuous training and particularly in combat there is a high demand on brain function and activity with a high rate of utilisation and accelerated burn up of (DHA). Trauma to the head also presents a challenge on DHA status regarding the severity of the injury and repair. At the US Military meeting in Washington and the subsequent publication evidence was presented on the biology of DHA and the need for adequate dietary provision for optimum military performance, recovery from injury and prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder. The US is investing $10M on a research programme to delineate requirements, efficacy and means of delivery.”
This commitment to using dietary components to improve the lives of soldiers is commendable and was welcomed by IFBB Vice-Chairman, retired General, Lord Ramsbotham.
This issue highlights the value of gaining the right balance between omega-3 and omega-6 for both mental and physical health. Raising awareness of the need to balance essential fatty acids in the diet in order to improve mental health is of great importance to the IFBB. This publication looks at the effect of omega-3 on depression, suicide risk, stress resilience, neuroprotection and brain development along with many other important topics. 1