[Paleopsych] Lipids, depression and suicide

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Wed Apr 20 14:32:26 UTC 2005

Diet: This is a good point, and one I have considered. However, the 
history of a rise in depression pre-dates the low fat fad.  In the 1960s 
the trend was already appearing, with people of my generation being at 
higher risk of depression than my own grandparents. Therefore, Seligman 
argues more in favor of changing values. I think you are correct that 
diet may also play a role, but it is not the whole picture.

I put in the Horatius at the gate segments because the notion is that if 
nothing is worth dying for, then nothing is worth living for. One's 
willingness to give one's life in service of a higher value is a source 
of great strength and happiness. This appears to be an empirical 
finding, and illustrates the role of values and social norms in reducing 

"and how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of 
his fathers and the temples of his gods . . ."  The man / woman who 
deeply believes this has something great to live for, knows his/her 
position in life, and feels a deep connection with forebearers / 
posterity ('child upon her breast').  This seems to immunize against 


Steve Hovland wrote:

>Lipids, depression and suicide
>Colin A, Reggers J, Castronovo V, Ansseau M.
>Assistante Clinique, Universite de Liege,
>CUP La Clairiere, Bertrix.
>Encephale 2003 Feb;29(Pt 1):49-58
>Polyunsatured fatty acids are made out of a hydrocarbonated chain of 
>variable length with several double bonds. The position of the first double 
>bond (w; omega) differentiates polyunsatured w3 fatty acids (for example: 
>alpha-linolenic acid or a-LNA) and polyunsatured w6 fatty acids (for 
>example: linoleic acid or LA). These two classes of fatty acids are said to 
>be essential because they cannot be synthetised by the organism and have to 
>be taken from alimentation. The w3 are present in linseed oil, nuts, soya 
>beans, wheat and cold water fish whereas w6 are present in maize, sunflower 
>and sesame oil. Fatty acids are part of phospholipids and, consequently, of 
>all biological membranes. The membrane fluidity, of crucial importance for 
>its functionning, depends on its lipidic components. Phospholipids composed 
>of chains of polyunsatured fatty acids
>The rest of the story:  http://www.biopsychiatry.com/lipidsmood.htm
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