Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. A higher cumulative power of antioxidants in the whole diet is linked with lower rates of depression in the sample of adolescent girls

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Depression is believed to become one of the top three most common disorders responsible for global disease burden by 2030. Adolescent girls have a prevalence of depression two fold of other age and sex groups. Oxidative stress may be a risk factor for depression and other psychological disorders. Antioxidants in the diet such as polyphenols, vitamins A, C and E help support the body’s antioxidant system and protect against oxidative damage. The dietary total antioxidant capacity (DTAC) is an indicator that determines the power of antioxidants in food against reactive compounds and has previously been found to be a protective facto for depression in postmenopausal women and healthy adults. This cross sectional study consistent of 741 adolescent girls sampled from various areas in Iran. Students were aged 12-18 and had no chronic disease. Dietary intakes were evaluated using the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), and DTAC was calculated using the Nutrient Data Laboratory of USDA database. The Persian version of Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to determine depression status. The BDI is a questionnaire with 21 items that has a score from 0-63, a score of <13 means the person is considered as not depressed and a score of >13 means the person is considered depressed. This study concluded that the individuals in the highest quartiles of DTAC had lower depression scores compared to those in the lowest quartiles (9.05 ± 8.1 vs. 12.1 ± 9.4; P = 0.01). An inverse correlation was seen between DTAC and depression score in the unadjusted model (β standardized = -0.107; P value = 0.003) as well as in models that adjusted for confounding factors such as age and energy intake (β standardized = -0.114; P value = 0.002) age, energy intake, physical activity and menstruation (β standardized = -0.108; P value = 0.005), and all the previous factors plus BMI percentile (β standardized = -0.108; P value = 0.005). Limitations of this study include its cross-sectional design, resulting in inability to assume a cause relationship. The FFQ is also prone to measurement error. Additionally, specific symptoms of depression were not studied. Specific features like appetite and fatigue may have associations with DTAC quartiles. Overall, this study found that a higher DTAC is associated with lower rates of depression in adolescent girls.

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