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Fish as medicine

Paul Ingraham ARCHIVEDMicroblog posts are archived and rarely updated. In contrast, most long-form articles on are updated regularly over the years (see updates page).

A new scientific paper reports efficacy of anti-inflammatories for severe depression. Like many other diseases with these days, depression is increasingly linked to neuroinflammation. That’s interesting in itself, but what really jumped out at me is that they tested omega-3 fatty acids as a medication — so fish, basically — and the results for that were positive. In general, omega-3 fatty acids do not have strong evidence of efficacy as an anti-inflammatory agent, but this evidence suggests that people with more serious acute neuroinflammation might be much more responsive to ω3s.

This is potentially relevant to any condition where symptoms are driven by neuroinflammation. While I would never recommend fish oil as an “anti-inflammatory” for the average person, it’s probably a no-brainer worth-a-shot option for people troubleshooting any persistent medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), especially if it might be attributable to neuroinflammation. And, yes, that could include many chronic pain problems.

Eating fish is as safe and accessible as “medicine” gets. To get a respectable medicinal daily dose of ω3s, you need to eat about 40g of wild salmon, or about 60g of farmed salmon. Mackerel and sardines are also excellent sources. Mackerel is actually really tasty — I prefer it to tuna — and it’s even a sustainable fishery.

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