Low fibre intake linked to depression, study finds

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Low dietary fibre intake has been linked to the onset of depressive symptoms, research published in scientific journal Nutrition reveals.

The association between depression and dietary fibre intake is controversial, but a new study from Qingdao University researchers suggest that total vegetable and fruit fibre intake were inversely associated with depressive symptoms while a nonlinear association was found between total fibre intake and depressive symptoms.

The scientists, led by Dr Hui Xu of the School of Public Health of Qingdao University, analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007 to 2014. A total of 16,807 adults aged over 20 years old were included in this study.

The cross-sectional study obtained dietary data through two 24-hour dietary recall interviews. Depressive symptoms were assessed using a Patient Health Questionnaire.

Logistic regression models and restricted cubic spline models were applied to evaluate the associations among dietary intakes of total, cereal, vegetable, and fruit fibre and depressive symptoms.

“Dietary intakes of total, cereal, vegetable, and fruit fibre were inversely associated with depressive symptoms in unadjusted model and multivariate-adjusted model.

“In multivariate-adjusted model 2, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of depressive symptoms were 0.59 (0.44–0.79), 0.90 (0.69–1.19), 0.58 (0.45–0.76), and 0.64 (0.45–0.92) for the highest versus lowest quartile of total, cereal, vegetable, and fruit fibre intakes, respectively,”​ the study concluded.

Dose-response analyses found that the risk of depressive symptoms was associated with total fibre intake in a nonlinear manner, whereas the relationships were linear with cereal, vegetable, and fruit fibre intakes.

“Our study suggested that intakes of total fibre, vegetable fibre, and fruit fibre were inversely associated with depressive symptoms,​” the researchers noted.

Further larger prospective studies are needed to confirm the findings, they added.

Source: Nutrition

‘Exploration of the association between dietary fiber intake and depressive symptoms in adults’

Hui Xu, M.D., Suyun Li, Ph.D., Xingxing Song, M.D., Zongyao Li, M.D., Dongfeng Zhang, M.D.

Published online ahead of print DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2018.03.009

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