Summary Comments from Workshop Day 1: Nutritional Armor for the Warfighter—Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Enhance Stress Resilience, Wellness, and Military Performance?

By: Cornum RL
Publication Name: Military Medicine
Year: 2014

The first day of this conference reviewed the literature on the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, in all forms, around the world. Clinical trials using omega-3 fatty acids for a variety of pathological conditions, and studies examining omega-3 supplementation in nonclinical populations, were examined. Finally, the basic science describing possible mechanisms for observed clinical effects was reviewed. Despite wide recognition that the minute levels needed to prevent clinical deficiency are probably not optimal for health, there is a dearth of information on intake needed to optimize performance among healthy populations. Randomized placebo-controlled trials in humans specially evaluating health outcomes relevant to military populations are needed. Widespread consensus must be built on solid evidence of appropriate intake, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total fat, before a recommendation to change the intake of omega-3 fatty acids in the Department of Defense is made.