Suicide and nonfatal suicidal behaviors are major causes of death worldwide. One scientific question is why there are such variations of rates of suicide and suicidal behaviors within and between countries.
A group of researchers, led by Dr. M. Elizabeth Sublette, MD, PhD from the Psychiatry division at Columbia University, recently reviewed the scientific literature concerning diet and the risk of suicide.
I am not enough of a biochemist to understand the dietary lipid classes, cholesterol and polyunsaturated fatty acids, serotonin transporters and receptors, toll-like receptors, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, and peroxisome proliferator activated receptors.
But I do appreciate their theoretical model linking cholesterol and polyunsaturated fatty acids status to suicide risk. They argue that polyunsaturated fatty acids balance is important, and membrane lipid microdomains (rafts) could mediate a “nexus of interaction between cholesterol and omega-3 PUFAs, and downstream effects on serotonergic neurotransmission and specific inflammatory pathways.”
We’d have to email Dr. Sublette to really understand what she means by all that, and I don’t want to bother her.
Trying to make this paper relevant is the question of what foods we should be eating. I generally recommend folks study the work of Drs. Andrew Weil and Joel Fuhrman first, and then after you have read their books and papers, we can have a discussion.
In other news, I am grateful to everyone who reached out to me regarding my blog post yesterday on my suicidal ideation and medical leave due to depression. Just to assuage everyone’s fears, I have had no suicidal ideation since last week.
We must remember the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi, who wrote frequently about a concept he called Swaraj. To eliminate depression and suicide risk, we must become self-reliant.
Have a wonderful Friday!
Please let me know what you think of this blog post by leaving comments below or sharing on social media. I will attempt to respond via blog comments or Twitter. I won’t be sending any emails today, however.
Philip Albert Lederer MD