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Nutrition and Depression: Current Evidence on the Association of Dietary Patterns with Depression and Its Subtypes

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Cardiovascular Diseases and Depression

Abstract

Modifiable lifestyle factors, in particular nutrition, may be promising prevention and intervention targets not only for physical but also for mental health. The diet-depression relationship is very complex and even may be of bidirectional nature. Growing evidence suggests a potential role of nutrition in the development, course, and treatment of depression, whereas present depressive symptoms may also predict the development of an unhealthy lifestyle including poor diet quality. While previous research mainly investigated the effects of individual nutrients or foods on depression, the recent research focus shifted toward the investigation of the overall diet, because dietary patterns may better reflect the complexity of the habitual diet in daily life. In this chapter, we aim to summarize the current evidence on the diet-depression relationship, with major focus on overall diet rather than single nutrients. Furthermore, we briefly discuss potential underlying mechanisms and point out the interplay of nutrition and depression with the development of somatic comorbidities, in particular cardiovascular disease. A shortcoming of previous research on the diet-depression relationship is that most studies commonly treated depression as a homogeneous disease entity, although it actually is a very heterogeneous illness. In this context, we further want to highlight the role of distinct subtypes of depression in regard to the diet-depression relationship and reflect important implications for public health, clinical practice, and future research.

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Abbreviations

CI:

Confidence interval

CRP:

C-reactive protein

CVD:

Cardiovascular disease

DNA:

Deoxyribonucleic acid

DSM-IV:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition

HPA axis:

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis

HR:

Hazard ratio

IL-6:

Interleukin-6

MeDi:

Mediterranean diet

OR:

Odds ratio

RCT:

Randomized controlled trial

ROS:

Reactive oxygen species

RR:

Relative risk

SSRI:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

TNF-α:

Tumor necrosis factor alpha

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Rahe, C., Berger, K. (2016). Nutrition and Depression: Current Evidence on the Association of Dietary Patterns with Depression and Its Subtypes. In: Baune, B., Tully, P. (eds) Cardiovascular Diseases and Depression. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32480-7_17

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