Released: September 26, 2012

Omega-3 Supplements Eyed as Reducing Suicide Risk Among Veterans

As the U.S. Army recognizes September as Suicide Awareness Month, a new research study will attempt to develop therapeutic treatments to minimize suicide risks among military veterans.

The three-year, $10 million clinical trial is funded through the Military Operational Medicine Joint Program Committee (JPC-5), and will be managed by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). The study will be conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina under the direction of Dr. Bernadette Marriott.

Dr. Marriott has proposed that a daily supplement of Omega-3 fatty acids, building blocks that play important roles in neuronal structure and function, will reduce the risks of mental illness and suicide among military veterans with increased risk of suicidal behaviors. An associated pilot sub-study will investigate the impact of Omega-3 dietary supplementation on alcohol consumption in suicidal veterans with alcohol use disorders.

COL Carl Castro, JPC-5 Chair, said the study emphasizes the contributions of military veterans while recognizing and attempting to treat their pain.

"Suicide prevention is one of the most important goals in the U.S. Army," COL Castro said. "Our veterans have sacrificed in so many ways in service to their country, and we owe it to them to provide the best preventive and treatment options. This research is crucial to the well-being of future military veterans."

More than 300 veterans will take part in the study, and recruitment of study participants is expected to begin this fall. The study is integrated with the JPC-5 suicide research portfolio that includes more than $100 million in research.

Point of Contact:

David F. Cline
CDMRP Public Affairs

The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) funds innovative bio-medical competitive awards and manages research programs in cancer, military relevant injuries and conditions, and specific disease programs for the benefit of all Americans. Recognized for our unique collaborations with scientists, clinicians, consumers, and the military, the CDMRP is a subordinate command of the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Department of Defense (