Flavonoid intakes linked to lower depression risk for women

Depression is globally a major cause of disability. Although many patients respond favourably to treatment, residual symptoms and dysfunction from depression are common, especially among older adults. Therefore, scientists are looking for effective depression prevention strategies.

Flavonoids are polyphenols that occur naturally in berries, vegetables and fruits. Flavonoids have been shown to exert antineuroinflammatory properties, suppress neuronal apoptosis and improve vascular health. These are mechanisms that are associated with depression pathophysiology. Therefore, in this study they examined whether intakes of flavonoids were related to lower depression incidence.

Figure 1. Crowberry is a good source of anthocyanins.

A total of 82 643 women (aged 36-55 years and 53-80 years) were followed for ten years. Intakes of total flavonoids were calculated from food questionnaire collected every 2-4 years. Possible depression diagnosis was also self-reported. Women did not have previous history of depression at baseline.

According to results, 10 752 incident depression cases occurred during a ten-year follow-up. It seems that higher flavonoid intakes may be associated with lower depression risk, especially among older women. High flavonol, flavone and flavanone intakes had a significant 7-10% reduction in depression risk.

Among the wild berries, especially bilberries and crowberries contain high amounts of anthocyanins and other flavonoids (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Content of polyphenols in berries, vegetables and fruits

Anni Koskela, Arctic Flavours Association

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Source: Chang, S., Cassidy, A., Willett, W., Rimm, E., O'Reilly, E. & Okereke, O. (2016): Dietary flavonoid intake and risk of incident depression in midlife and older women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.124545.

geriatria  flavonoidit  epidemiologia  masennus  seurantatutkimus  depression  epidemiology  flavonoids  geriatrics  prospective cohort