Vitamin deficiency increases risk of depression

New research has revealed that low intake of vitamin B12 and folate can significantly increase the risk of suffering from melancholic depressive symptoms.

Melancholic depression is a subtype of major depressive disorder and refers to the collection of symptoms that include an inability to find pleasure in positive events of situations and a lack of mood reactivity, a general invariable state of mind. Non-melancholic depression is characterised by other types of symptoms, such as low self-esteem, self-criticism and feelings of worry and anxiety.

The researchers which comprised of nutritionists and psychologists looked at data collected from 3,000 middle-aged and elderly Finnish participants.

The study found that deficiencies in particular nutrients increased the risk of suffering from melancholic depressive symptoms, however, it the same effect was not found for non-melancholic depressive symptoms.

Participants who consumed large amounts of folate from their diet, the risk of suffering from depressive symptoms was almost 50 percent lower than individuals who had low intake of folate.

Similar results were found for the levels of vitamin B12 which plays a key role in the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Individuals, who reported having the lowest levels of vitamin B12 in their diet, were up to three times more likely to express melancholic depressive symptoms compared to those who reported having higher levels.

The final conclusive finding that the researchers reported was that people who had melancholic depressive symptoms were half likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those with non-melancholic depressive symptoms.

These results indicate that there could be significantly different subtypes of depression with different causes for example diet and subsequently different types of treatment.

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