Can Violent Behavior be Linked to Nutritional Deficiencies?

Healthcare Training Resource
September 4, 2013 — 1,422 views  
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Many recent incidents of violence by school students in America has given rise to a serious question - is violence associated with nutritional deficiencies? The answer to this question requires an understanding of the effect of different food nutrients on children. The human nervous system and brain needs certain nutrients to carry out their functions. So there is a possibility that nutritional deficiencies can result in violent or aggressive behavior.

Importance of Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Retinoic acid, which is actually preformed vitamin A, is important for the development of the brain. Lack of this vitamin during gestation in mothers can lead to abnormal behavioral patterns in children. Lack of cholecalciferol (also called Vitamin D3) in the body can put the children at the risk of panic and depression. Vitamin D plays an important role in the parts of the brain that help in learning and retaining memory. Butter, egg yolks, meat fats, cod liver oil, and chicken liver are some major sources of fat soluble vitamins.

Importance of Water-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins too have a major role to play in the development of certain areas of the brain. Lack of thiamine, which is a water-soluble vitamin, can cause beriberi. The symptoms of this disease include confusion, memory loss, irritability, and depression. Lack of certain water-soluble vitamins in the body can lead to mental disorders like irrational anger, depression, poor concentration, and so on. This deficiency can also make people get very easily irritable, sullen, upset, depressed, or quarrelsome and lead to violent behavior. Tomatoes, potatoes, royal bee jelly, and meat are good sources of water-soluble vitamins.

Importance of Minerals

Mental symptoms have been associated with lack of vital minerals like potassium, iodine, zinc, magnesium, chromium, and manganese in the body. Deficiency of magnesium and zinc can result in many neurological problems like dementia, aggressive behavior, schizophrenia, anger, suicidal tendencies, and hostile behavior that can take form of violence. Leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds are a  good source of minerals.

Excess Copper

Excess of certain minerals can also result in mental imbalance. High level of copper in the body can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, and extreme fear. Research has revealed that excess copper in the body of children and teenagers can cause them to react violently.

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