A new research has revealed that increasing the intake of fish, especially fatty fish, will improve the response rate among patients with depression who are not responding to antidepressants.
Did you know that up to half of depression patients do not respond to SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants? For them there is little left to do in terms of treatments. Now, the results of a new study have been published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology and is due to be presented at a congress in Berlin, Germany.
The reason why some people simply do not respond to antidepressants had been believed to be genetic. Up to 42% of people who are suffering from depression and who are receiving treatment, do not respond to antidepressants. But his new study has scientists wondering whether or not diet has something to do with this.
The scientists in charge of the study were searching for factors that may influence the non-response to antidepressants, when they stumbled upon the association between antidepressants effectiveness and fish intake.
Roel Mocking, lead researcher explains:
We were looking for biological alterations that could explain depression and antidepressant non-response, so we combined two apparently unrelated measures: metabolism of fatty acids and stress hormone regulation. Interestingly, we saw that depressed patients had an altered metabolism of fatty acids, and that this changed metabolism was regulated in a different way by stress hormones.
The levels of fatty acid and cortisol of 70 depression patients were measured and they were compared with the results taken from 51 control patients who were healthy. After the tests were performed, the depression patients were given a 30mg dose of SSRI every day for 6 weeks. The ones who did not respond to the medicine, had their dose increased to 50mg per day.
It was found that patients with depression who did not respond to the SSRI had abnormal fatty acid metabolism. Following this discovery, they examined the patients’ fish intake and found that the patients who ate the least fish had the weakest response to the SSRI antidepressants, while the ones who ate the most fish had the strongest response.
After careful inspection of the data, it was reported that the patients who had fatty fish at least once a week had 75% chance of responding to antidepressants, while those who never or rarely ate fatty fish, had a 23% chance of responding to the SRRI antidepressants. This means that eating more fish will make antidepressants work better.
This means that the alterations in fatty acid metabolism (and their relationship with stress hormone regulation) were associated with future antidepressant response.
However, Roel Mocking added that the association between fatty acids in the metabolism and the response to antidepressants is not necessarily a causal effect and that more studies are needed to confirm and establish that eating more fish will make antidepressants work better.
Any thoughts on the fact that eating more fish will make antidepressants work better?