Mental illness linked to low fish consumption

Tue, Feb 17, 2009, 00:00

Irish people are 50 times more likely to develop depression than populations like Japan where seafood consumption is high, a leading professor of human nutrition and brain function has said.

Professor Michael Crawford, director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at London Metropolitan University, says the rise in mental illness may be linked to insufficient consumption of fish

"It is simple –our brain is made of marine fats- if we do not feed it the food it requires to remain healthy- fish and specifically Omega 3 fats- then we are looking at serious brain problems like depression, bi-polar disorder and childhood behavioural problems like ADHD and dyslexia, dyspraxia," he said.

Prof Crawford, who will speak at the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute's annual conference in Dublin later today, also warned against relying on Omega 3 supplements or Omega 3-enhanced food products.

"Supplements are okay as an emergency measure, but the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids is to be found in seafood," he said.