Does the Mediterranean diet lower the risk of depression?

depressionResearchers from Canaria, Spain and Minneapolis, Minnesota report that the Mediterranean diet might lower the risk of depressive disorders.

First, the details.

  • 10,094 initially healthy Spaniards participated in the study.
  • They were classified as having depression if they were free of depression and antidepressant medication at the start of the study, but then reported that a physician-made a diagnosis of clinical depression and/or antidepressant medication use during follow-up.

And, the results.

  • After about 4 years, 480 new cases of depression were identified.
  • Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet resulted in a significantly lower risk of depression.
  • This inverse dose-response relationships was found for fruit and nuts, the monounsaturated- to saturated-fatty-acids ratio, and legumes.

The bottom line?
Back in 2006, the same researchers published a similar study that suggested a protective effect of the Mediterranean diet.

However, there are several limitations that make the findings from both studies preliminary.

Dr. Viviane Kovess-Masfety at McGill University, in Canada and Université Paris, in France, says that the limitations of this study include relatively poor diagnostic documentation of depression and a highly selected population — students and professionals in only one country, Spain.

Additional studies will be needed.

10/10/09 22:33 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.