Dark chocolate tied to lower risk for depression

  • Jackson SE & al.
  • Depress Anxiety
  • 29 Jul 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • People who consumed dark chocolate were 70% less likely to report clinically relevant depressive symptoms at 24-hour recall than those reporting no consumption, even after controlling for confounders.
  • Effect increased with amount of dark chocolate consumed.

Why this matters

  • Prior studies of chocolate consumption and risk for depressive symptoms yielded conflicting results.

Study design

  • Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2008 and 2013-2014; n=13,626; age, ≥20 years) were studied.
  • Assessment:
    • Daily chocolate consumption (≥45% cocoa solids) calculated in grams (the average of two 24‐hour recalls).
    • Depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire).
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • 11.1% (n=1332) reported any chocolate consumption, of whom 12.1% (n=148) reported any dark chocolate consumption.
  • There were lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms (aOR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.21-0.72) among individuals with any dark chocolate consumption vs no chocolate consumption.
  • A significant negative association was noted between the highest quartile of total chocolate consumption (104-454 g/day) and clinically relevant depressive symptoms (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.19-0.92).
  • The association remained significant after adjusting for dark chocolate consumption vs no dark chocolate consumption (aOR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.19-0.96).

Limitations

  • Findings to be interpreted with caution.
  • Possibility of residual confounders.

Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm

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