Could Teen Suicide be Cause by Diet?
Original post made by Susan Hong, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2011
Here's an excerpt from a Dr. Mercola that some readers may know of or not agree with, but I found the topic compelling enough to share with the public.
Could depression and suicide have something to do with what teens eat? Or should I rephrase, fail to eat?
Omega-3 deficiency could be a contributing factor to deteriorating mental health. Along with vitamin D deficiency, which also plays an important role.
NOW Toronto also touches on the subject of omega-3 fats and violence in a recent article stating:
"Hamburgers and fries are rarely accused of causing violent behavior in male youth who subsist on them. But the standard junk food diet of North America is dangerously low in many nutrients, notably the omega fatty acids found most easily in fish and walnuts, fats that were likely crucial in early human evolution.
I say "dangerously low" not only because of the body's physical need for such fats, but because these fats deliver mental health benefits that counter depression. Washington-based National Institute of Health clinician Joseph Hibbeln created a momentary stir in 2001 with research showing lower murder rates among prisoners who ate fish regularly.
Harvard's Andrew Stoll wrote about EFAs as "the new pharmacology of aggression" in his 2001 book, The Omega-3 Connection, and expressed "hope that at least part of the answer" to such problems as intermittent explosive disorder "may be as simple as omega-3 fatty acid."
Research has shown that low plasma concentrations of DHA (a type of omega-3 fat) is associated with low concentrations of brain serotonin. This decreased amount of serotonin can be associated with depression and suicide.
In fact, not getting enough omega-3 fats is known to change the levels and functioning of both serotonin and dopamine (which plays a role in feelings of pleasure), as well as compromise the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from unwanted matter gaining access. Omega-3 deficiency can also decrease normal blood flow to your brain, an interesting finding given that studies show people with depression have compromised blood flow to a number of brain regions.
Finally, omega-3 deficiency also causes a 35 percent reduction in brain phosphatidylserine (PS) levels, which is relevant considering that PS has documented antidepressant activity in humans. Fish used to be the ideal food for obtaining omega-3 in your diet.