Fish eaters less likely to get depressed: Study

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People who consume fish-rich diet are less likely to get depressed, new study suggests.

The new study conducted by a team of Chinese researchers from the Medical College of Qingdao University found that people who consumed more fish had a 17 per cent reduction in depression risk compared to those who ate the least amount of fish.

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide, and is projected to become the second leading cause of ill health by 2020.

The research team pooled data from studies published between 2001 and 2014 to assess the strength of the evidence on the link between fish consumption and depression risk.

The analysis of 26 global studies involving more than 1, 50,000 people found that there’s a slightly stronger link between high fish consumption and lowered depression risk in men (20 percent). Among women, the associated reduction in depression risk was 16 percent.

The researchers believe that the omega-three fatty acids found in fish may alter the activity of dopamine and serotonin – two signalling chemicals in the brain thought to be involved in depression.

Additionally, the high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals found in fish may help stave off depression, while eating a lot of fish may be an indicator of a healthy and more nutritious diet.

“Higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression,” said lead author Professor Dongfeng Zhang, of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Medical College of Qingdao University, Shandong, China.

“Future studies are needed to further investigate whether this association varies according to the type of fish.”

The research paper was published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.