Daily Multivitamin-Mineral Supplements May Reduce Antisocial Behavior in Children

Daily Multivitamin-Mineral Supplements May Reduce Antisocial Behavior in Children

While there is no substitute for teaching children appropriate behavior, there have been several studies that have drawn attention to the important role nutrition plays in childhood behavior. In the past 20 years, studies of young people in juvenile correctional institutes have reported a reduction in violence and serious antisocial behavior by almost half after nutritional changes were made to their diets. A recent study was conducted to see if the same results would be found among younger school-aged children.

For four months, 388 children ages 6 to 12 participated in this study. Approximately half of the children were given a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement that contained one half of the U.S. recommended daily allowances and half were given a daily placebo. At the end of the study, antisocial behavior was evaluated by reviewing school disciplinary records. The analysis showed that the disruptive children who took the supplements had a 47 percent lower rate of antisocial behavior than those who had taken placebos. Less discipline was required to address issues like aggression towards other people, abuse of property, refusal to work, uttering obscenities, or being disorderly, disrespectful, or defiant. The authors suggest that poor nutrition may lead to vitamin deficiencies, and that these deficiencies can impair brain function and lead to antisocial behavior. The researchers conclude that correcting nutrient intake, through diet or supplementation, may improve brain function and reduce antisocial behavior.

The bottom line: it's smart to give all children, especially those with antisocial behavior, daily multivitamin-mineral supplements. These supplements are safe and affordable, and this simple measure may go a long way to reducing the social and financial toll of unchecked antisocial behavior in children.


Schoenthaler SJ, Bier ID. The effect of vitamin-mineral supplementation on juvenile delinquency among American schoolchildren: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2000;6(1):7-17.

Review Date: May 2000
Reviewed By: Integrative Medicine editorial

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