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Dietary Antioxidants and Depression in Women

12/31/2019 4:16:48 PM
polyphenolsThe hormonal changes of menopause modify the levels of noradrenaline and serotonin in the brain and can contribute to some of the classic symptoms of depression. Women can experience irritability, melancholy, and emotional lability. In addition to hormonal changes, other factors that may influence depression risk include nutrient deficiencies or decreases in circulating antioxidants.
In a cross-sectional study, published in September of 2019 in Dementia & Neuropsychologia, researchers evaluated the relationship between dietary total antioxidant capacity (DTAC) and depression in menopausal women in Brazil.

Study examines antioxidant intake and menopause, mood

Forty-one women between the ages of 50 and 69 participated in the study. Depression was assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory, and diet was assessed with a 24-hour dietary recall. Of the 41 women, 18 had depression (44%). DTAC ranged from 435.60 to 4,502.62 mg of vitamin C-equivalents (VCE) per day. Polyphenols were predominantly responsible for the DTAC, and coffee was the most frequently consumed polyphenol-rich food.
When compared with the women without depression, women with depression consumed significantly lower amounts of polyphenols (p=.02), vitamin B6 (p=.04), vitamin A (p=.04), and vitamin C (p=.05). The strongest association was between depression and polyphenol intake. Also, there was a inverse correlation between the severity of depressive symptoms and polyphenol intake.

Results suggest increased antioxidant consumption may ease depressive symptoms

Results of a cross-sectional study cannot demonstrate cause and effect. However, the results of this study suggest that menopausal women with depression consume lower amounts of polyphenols than those without depression. This information could guide dietary strategies to support a healthy mood in women as they age.
de Oliveira NG, Teixeira IT, Theodoro H, Branco CS. Dietary total antioxidant capacity as a preventive factor against depression in climacteric women. Dement Neuropsychol. 2019; 13: 305-311.