Nuts to depression

  • Depress Anxiety

  • curated by Jim Kling
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • In a Chinese population, increased nut consumption was associated with reduced odds of experiencing elevated depressive symptoms.

Study design

  • The researchers performed a cross-sectional study of 13,626 residents of Tianjin, China. They used a validated food frequency questionnaire to assess nut consumption and the Chinese version of the 20-item Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) to assess depressive symptoms.

Key results

  • 38.7% of the population had SDS scores ≥40; 19.1% had SDS ≥45; 11.4% ≥48; and 7.3% ≥50.
  • After adjustments for potential confounding factors, compared with a reference of eating nuts once per week, increasing nut consumption was associated with decreased risk of depression (SDS ≥40, 1-3×/wk OR=0.82 [95% CI, 0.75-0.90] and ≥4×/wk OR=0.82 [95% CI, 0.73-0.92]).
  • The effect remained after controlling for consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, components of fish believed to be beneficial for depressive symptoms.
  • Similar associations were seen using other SDS cut-off values.

Limitations

  • The study cannot prove causation.
  • The study did not include clinical diagnosis of depression.

Why this matters

  • The study results suggest nut consumption may be protective, though more studies are necessary to prove the effect.

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