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Mackerel. (Photo Credit: toasto.com/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Fish intake found to combat depression but only in women

WORLDWIDE
Tuesday, May 06, 2014, 03:00 (GMT + 9)

A new study has determined that eating fish at least twice a week reduces the risk of depression by 25 per cent - but only in women.

This study, developed by the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, Australia and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, discovered that having seafood on the menu had no protective effect for men, Mail Online informed.

“The observed protective association for women but not for men may have been due to men consuming more omega-3 fatty acids from other dietary sources, particularly from meat,” the study concluded.

The researchers, who tracked more than 1,400 men and women aged between 26 and 36 for a period of five years, speculate that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids may combine with the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone to keep the brain functioning properly.

The participants kept diaries of their diet – including various types of seafood including fish, prawns and mussels - while details about their mental health were also collated.

"This study has reached an interesting conclusion that the benefits are seen purely in women, however, it remains unclear what factors are at play here and further research would be necessary to confirm this result. What is beyond argument, though, is that the human body, including the brain, requires appropriate nutrition to function properly and that, in some instances, deficiencies can and do manifest themselves in conditions such as depression," remarked Dr Richard Marsh, chief executive of the Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour.

And he added: "Consumption of oily fish can promote good health in many ways as part of a balanced diet.”

Furthermore, dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker pointed out: ‘The fatty acids in fish are long chain so can be readily used by the body whereas they are short chain in meat so have to be adapted. If men consume more food but are more reliant on meat for their fatty acids than women, it would perhaps explain why the positive effects of fish on depression are seen only in women in this study.

Photo Credit: toasto.com/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0


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