Associations between dietary carotenoid intakes and the risk of depressive symptoms

  • Honghan Ge Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Qingdao University Medical College, Qingdao, China
  • Tingting Yang Department of Hospital-Acquired Infection Control, The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao, China
  • Jing Sun Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Qingdao University Medical College, Qingdao, China
  • Dongfeng Zhang Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Qingdao University Medical College, Qingdao, China
Keywords: depressive symptoms; dietary carotenoid intakes; restricted cubic spline models; dose-response relationship; NHANES


Background: Dietary factors play an important role in the development of depressive symptoms. Carotenoids have effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, but few studies have explored the associations between dietary carotenoid intake and depressive symptoms.

Objective: To evaluate the association between dietary carotenoid intake and the risk of depressive symptoms in adults from the United States.

Design: This cross-sectional study included adult participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patients’ Health Questionnaire- 9. Intake of carotenoids was obtained through two 24-h dietary recall interviews. We applied logistic regression models and restricted cubic spline models to evaluate the associations of dietary alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein with zeaxanthin, and total carotenoid intake with the risk of depressive symptoms.

Results: Overall, a total of 17,401 adults aged 18–80 years were included in this study. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of depressive symptoms in the highest versus lowest quartiles were 0.71 (0.56–0.92) for alpha-carotene, 0.59 (0.47–0.75) for beta-carotene, 0.71 (0.55–0.92) for beta-cryptoxanthin, 0.66 (0.49–0.89) for lycopene, 0.50 (0.39–0.64) for lutein with zeaxanthin, and 0.59 (0.45–0.78) for total carotenoid intake. U-shaped dose–response relationships were found between both beta- carotene and lutein with zeaxanthin intake and the risk of depressive symptoms.

Conclusion: Results suggest that alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein with zeaxanthin, and total carotenoid intake may be inversely associated with the risk of depressive symptoms in the U.S. adults.


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How to Cite
Ge, H., Yang, T., Sun, J., & Zhang, D. (2020). Associations between dietary carotenoid intakes and the risk of depressive symptoms. Food & Nutrition Research, 64.
Original Articles