Vitamin B6 is associated with depressive symptomatology in Massachusetts elders

J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Jun;27(3):421-7. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719720.


Objective: We examined the cross-sectional relationship between dietary vitamin B6 and plasma pyridoxyl-5'-phosphate concentrations (PLP) with depressive symptomatology among a representative sample of 618 elderly Caribbean Hispanics, and a neighborhood based comparison group of 251 non-Hispanic white (NHW) older adults in Massachusetts.

Methods: Depressive symptomatology was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). 41% of Hispanics and 22.6% of NHWs had CES-D scores greater than 16, indicating depressive caseness. Dietary intake was calculated from a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) designed for this population.

Results: PLP was significantly associated with CES-D score and depressive caseness in the total sample and in non-supplement users. Deficient levels of plasma PLP (plasma PLP < 20 nmol/L) approximately doubled the likelihood of depressive caseness. Total intake (diet + supplement) of vitamin B(6) was not associated with these outcomes. However, dietary vitamin B(6) was significantly associated with CES-D score and depressive caseness.

Conclusion: Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the direction of causality between vitamin B6 and depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / blood*
  • Vitamin B 6 / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / ethnology
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / psychology*
  • White People


  • Pyridoxal Phosphate
  • Vitamin B 6