Fish consumption may lower risk of depression

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COLUMBIA - A recent meta-analysis by researchers show that having a fish enriched diet can decrease the risk of depression by 17 percent.

The meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was comprised from 26 studies that involved 150,278 people between 2001 through last year.

When researchers at Qingdao University analyzed the data by gender, it was found that men who had a fish enriched diet had a 20 percent lower risk of depression. Where in women, there was a 16 percent lower risk of depression.

Danny Ritzo is an avid fisherman in Columbia.

"The best part about going fishing is it's peaceful, it's, well, quiet for number two, and you get to enjoy the fishing, catch fish. If it's too small throw it back. The best part of life," Ritzo said.

Not only does he love to fish, but loves to eat it as well.

He believes the study does reveal some truth, coming from having a healthy diet.

University of Missouri Counseling Center Director David Wallace doesn't exactly believe what the study has shown.

"There's not a conclusive tie-in here. It's a correlation, it's a connection. But not proof that fish consumption really adds to depression. Probably some of the comments said that it really related to lifestyle, and how people live their lives, healthy eating, that sort of thing, I do agree with," Wallace said.

He believes the meta-analysis doesn't provide enough evidence to conclude that fish consumption absolutely helps decrease the risk of depression, and that there is more than one factor that goes in to that.

"It really reflects healthy living. Good eating, good diet, that sort of thing," Wallace said. "There are other things that weigh in here in Mid-Missouri and everywhere else, and that is what's the person's experience in life?"

Researchers of the meta-analysis have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish could alter the structure of brain cell membranes to decrease chances of depression.

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, major depression affects 14.8 million American adults in a given year.