KUOPIO, FINLAND. Researchers at the University of Kuopio report that regular fish consumption reduces the risk of depression and suicide. Their study involved 1767 Finnish men and women who were evaluated for depression and suicidal tendencies using the 21-item Beck Depression Inventory. They were also asked about their fish consumption. The researchers conclude that people who consume fish twice a week or more have a 37 per cent lower risk of being depressed and a 43 per cent lower risk of having thoughts of harming themselves (suicidal tendencies).
The results are consistent with those of a large Japanese study involving 265,000 subjects who were followed up for 17 years. This study found a decreased risk of suicide among people who consumed fish daily. Dr. Andrew Stoll, MD of the Harvard Medical School points out that Icelanders who consume a lot of seafood have far lower rates of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) than do inhabitants of other countries situated at similar latitudes. Both Dr. Stoll and the Finnish researchers urge large-scale trials to conclusively determine whether it is appropriate to recommend increased fish intake or fish oil supplementation to depressed people or indeed to the population as a whole.
Tanskanen, Antti, et al. Fish consumption, depression, and suicidality in a general population. Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 58, May 2001, pp. 512-13