Eating fish boosts antidepressant response

Eating more fatty fish could increase the effects of antidepressants in patients who do not respond to the treatment, according to researchers.

Eating fish can boost antidepressant response

Up to half of patients who suffer from depression do not respond to treatment with SSRIs, but Dutch research has found that this could be reversed by eating a diet high in fatty fish.

Researchers from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam found that fatty acid metabolism disrupts the way stress hormones are regulated, which in turn affects antidepressant response.

They compared 70 initially unmedicated patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with 51 matched control patients without the condition. After six weeks of SSRI treatment, the MDD patients showed signs of abnormal fatty acid metabolism, suggesting this was a symptom of MDD.

Fish intake link

How much fatty acid-rich fish the patients ate was also investigated.

The researchers found that those who ate fatty fish at least once a week had a 75% chance of responding to SSRIs, while those who never did had just a 23% chance of responding. This suggested that fatty acid metabolism could be modified through fish intake, thereby improving SSRI response rates.

Lead author Dr Roel Mocking said: ‘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.

‘Our findings suggest that measures of fatty acid metabolism, and their association with stress hormone regulation, might be of use in the clinic as an early indicator of future antidepressant response. Moreover, fatty acid metabolism could be influenced by eating fish, which may be a way to improve antidepressant response rates.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published


Unfunded pay rise leaves multi-million pound gap in ARRS funding

PCNs could be forced to scale back recruitment plans under the additional roles reimbursement...

Dr Zoe Norris

GPDF slashes costs and overhauls funding rules to 'restore trust' with GPs

The General Practice Defence Fund (GPDF) has cancelled contracts worth hundreds of...

Churchill Gardens

Scheme from Brazil helps address health inequalities in London practice

A scheme involving community health and wellbeing workers, which is based on a long-standing...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: How an initiative from Brazil could help general practice and improve outcomes

Dr Matt Harris and London GP Dr Connie Junghans Minton explain how an initiative...

Medical centre sign

One in three GP practices in Northern Ireland faced serious closure risk in past 18 months

One in three GP practices in Northern Ireland have faced a serious risk of closure...

BMA sign

BMA warns Treasury 'many practices' will close without emergency financial support

GP leaders have urged the Treasury to agree emergency funding to support general...