Aylesbury Study: Reducing incidents among young offenders through nutrition

Publication date

25 February 2002


Dr Bernard Gesch (Principal Investigator)

Sean M. Hammond

Sarah E. Hampson

Anita Eves

Martin J. Crowder


We commissioned this research, which was carried out by the University of Surrey.

Nutritional supplements were supplied by Scotia Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Unigreg Ltd.


  • The study investigated the effects of supplements on prisoners and offending behaviour

  • Supplements contained vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids

  • Results showed supplementation reduced offending behaviour in prisoners

The study

A two-year clinical trial was run at Aylesbury Young Offenders Institution, to study the effect of nutritional supplements on offending behaviour.

What we did

We recruited 231 prisoners, reviewed their records of disciplinary incidents, and assessed nutrient status from pin-prick blood samples. 

Participants were randomly assigned to take daily capsules containing vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo, with none of the researchers or prisoners knowing who was in which group. 

At the end of the trial we took blood samples again, retested the participants and collated behavioural scores from the intervention period.

Key findings

The results of the trial were startling. The prisoners who received active capsules committed 37% fewer violent offences and 26% fewer offences overall, whereas the rates of disciplinary incidents remained substantially unchanged for those receiving placebos.