Increasing Homicide Rates and Linoleic Acid Consumption in Five Western Countries, 1961–2000

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 8 No. 2 • April 2005

Increasing Homicide Rates and Linoleic Acid Consumption in Five Western Countries, 1961–2000

An interesting paper1 reports that greater linoleic acid (an n-6 fatty acid) consumption is associated across time and countries with a greater risk of homicide. The linoleic acid consumption was calculated from World Health Organization disappearance data for 12 major seed oils in the food supply over the years 1961 to 2000 in Argentina, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The apparent consumption of linoleic acid ranged from 0.29 en% (percentage of daily food energy) for Australia (1962) to 8.3 en% for the U.S. (1990s). Correlations between greater linoleic acid consumption (disappearance) and homicide mortality in each country were significant in linear regression models.

The data for greater homicide risk with increased linoleic acid consumption are consistent with other studies reporting that reduced consumption (as measured by lower tissue levels) of the n-3 fatty acids EPA and/or DHA is correlated with increased hostility measures in 4000 subjects in the CARDIA epidemiological study, in aggressive cocaine addicts, and in violent prisoners.1 The authors note that one mechanism that may link reduced n-3 fatty acids or increased linoleic acid consumption with increased homicide is a deficit in serotonergic neurotransmission in the frontal cortex, which is associated with increased impulsive violent behavior.


  1. Hibbeln et al. Increasing homicide rates and linoleic acid consumption among five western countries, 1961–2000. Lipids 39(12):1207-13 (2004).

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