The Association Between Dietary Zinc Intake and Health Status, Including Mental Health and Sleep Quality, Among Iranian Female Students


Epidemiological studies have suggested that there is an association between diet and mental health. The aim of the current study was to explore the association between dietary zinc intake and risk of depression, anxiety, and sleep quality distortion among female students of the Semnan University of Medical Sciences in a cross-sectional study. From January through October 2019, 142 female students were randomly selected from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the Semnan University of Medical Sciences by simple random sampling. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) were used to assess participants’ dietary intake over the past 12 months. Depression, anxiety, and sleep quality were examined by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), respectively. In the analysis, the crude model was adjusted for total energy intake (kcal), while the model was adjusted for energy intake (kcal), age, economic status, physical activity level, serum vitamin D level, and body mass index. Dietary zinc intake is significantly associated with depression (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)): 2.34 (0.38–4.30)) and anxiety (OR (95% CI): 3.43 (2.36–4.50)), sleep disorders (OR (95% CI): 3.65 (2.16–5.13)), sleep duration (OR (95% CI): 2.62 (0.39–4.86)), and daytime dysfunction (OR (95% CI): 5.31 (2.84–7.78)) in the model, as well as sleep delay (OR (95% CI): 1.80 (1.05–2.55)) and mental quality of sleep (OR (95% CI): 1.63 (1.10–2.15)) in the crude analysis. This cross-sectional study supports the inverse association between dietary zinc intake and mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, and some indices of sleep disturbance in the Iranian female students. Further cohort or intervention studies are required to draw a firm link between dietary zinc intake and mental health.

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Food Safety Research Center (salt) of the Semnan University of Medical Sciences supported this study.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Arman Arab.

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This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Semnan University of Medical Sciences (research ethics number: IR.SEMUMS.REC.1397.275).

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Hajianfar, H., Mollaghasemi, N., Tavakoly, R. et al. The Association Between Dietary Zinc Intake and Health Status, Including Mental Health and Sleep Quality, Among Iranian Female Students. Biol Trace Elem Res (2020).

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  • Dietary zinc
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep quality
  • Students
  • Iran