Vitamin D deficiency mediates the relationship between dietary patterns and depression: a case-control study

Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 3:19:37. doi: 10.1186/s12991-020-00288-1. eCollection 2020.


Background: Depression is a major contributor to disability-adjusted life years (DALY) lost in the world. Dietary patterns are widely used to investigate diet-disease relations. In the current study, the relationship between dietary patterns and depression was investigated. Besides, the role of serum vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and total antioxidant capacity as potential mediatory variables was studied.

Methods: It was an individually matched case-control study in which 330 depressed and healthy subjects were recruited for the extraction of dietary patterns; psychiatrists diagnosed major depressive disorder, using the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Serum vitamin D and aforementioned biomarkers were measured for a number of randomly selected depressed and healthy individuals. We conducted mediatory analysis by regression models.

Results: Healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns were associated with the lower and higher odds of depression (OR 0.39, CI 0.17-0.92 and OR 2.6, CI 1.04-6.08), respectively. A significant relationship between serum vitamin D with depression after adjusting for potential confounders was observed as well (OR 0.93, CI 0.87-0.99). According to the mediatory analysis the unhealthy dietary patterns were related to depression via altering the serum vitamin D concentration.

Conclusion: This study showed that vitamin D deficiency mediates the relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and depression. However, to get a clearer result further prospective studies are required.

Keywords: Depression; Dietary pattern; Magnesium; Mediatory analysis; Total antioxidant capacity; Vitamin D; Zinc.