The relationship between depression and serum ferritin level

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;61(4):532-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602542. Epub 2006 Oct 25.


Objective: This study looks at the association of depression and serum ferritin level.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: University hospital.

Subjects: Two hundred and five female medical students of Free University of Medical Sciences in Tehran were selected for the study (mean age; 24.5+/-1.6 years). Of these, 13 subjects were excluded and finally 192 subjects took part in the study.

Interventions: A questionnaire was filled in by each participant for the diagnosis of depression to be made. Based on the Beck score, the students were grouped as depressed and healthy (67 depressed students and 125 healthy controls). The participants were evaluated in terms of hemoglobin (Hgb) level, serum ferritin, ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), CRP (C-reactive protein), folic acid, vitamin B12 and Hgb simultaneously.

Results: The prevalence of depression in the study population was 34.7%. The mean ferritin level in students with depression was significantly lower than the healthy ones (P<0.001). By changing the status from normal ferritin level to low ferritin level, odds of depression was increased by 1.92 (P<0.05).

Conclusion: The study implies a possible association between depression and decreased ferritin level before the occurrence of anemia.

Sponsorship: Free University of Medical Sciences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / blood*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Health Status*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron / deficiency
  • Logistic Models
  • Students, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood


  • Hemoglobins
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ferritins
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B 12