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Letters to the Editor
May 2001

Fish Consumption, Depression, and Suicidality in a General Population—Reply

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001;58(5):513. doi:

In reply

Tanskanen and colleagues report that higher consumption of fish is associated with a reduced risk of major depression and suicidal ideation in a large, community-based sample in Finland. The authors mailed surveys that screened for major depression using the self-rated 21-item Beck Depression Inventory to 3004 randomly chosen individuals. The survey also asked about fish consumption, using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

This study has flaws inherent in this type of epidemiological survey (eg, association does not imply causation), and the strength of the statistical differences in depression risk and suicide risk were of a relatively low magnitude (P = .02 and P = .03, respectively). However, this data is consistent with the growing body of literature regarding ω3 fatty acids and major depression.