Without dredging up horrid memories of high school, do you remember that our cells are made of a lipid bilayer?
That means that the outside of our cells are formed of two layers of fats sandwiched together. For cells to function properly, a message needs to pass through this sandwich layer. It works out that the healthier the fats in this sandwich, the better a message gets into or out of a cell. Things just work better.
So, healthier fats = better messages. Unhealthy fats = messages get lost.
Consider this in the brain. Would you want the message to get to where it’s supposed to? Of course. So, better fats = better sandwich = better messages.
This can translate to neurotransmitters like serotonin or epinephrine or dopamine getting from one cell to another. So, of course we would expect to see psychological problems like depression get better with higher intakes of healthy fats. Seems pretty simple, huh?
Which leads us to this particular study, where researchers looked at the relationship between dietary fish intake and depressive symptoms in over 6500 Japanese children who were between 12 and 15 years of age. Here’s what they found:
- In boys, higher fish intake was linked to 27% lower risk of having depressive symptoms.
- EPA intake had the strongest effect (29% for EPA, 21% for DHA).
- Looking at omega-3 intake (and not specifically fish intake), there was a 28% lower risk.
- The protective effect was limited to boys.