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Serum folate and homocysteine and depressive symptoms among Japanese men and women

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

Folate and homocysteine have been implicated to have a role in depression. However, results of epidemiologic studies on this issue have been inconsistent. The objective of this study was to clarify the association between serum folate and homocysteine concentrations and depressive symptoms in Japanese adults.

Subjects/Methods:

We analyzed cross-sectional data for 530 municipal employees (313 men and 217 women), aged 21–67 years, who participated in a health survey at the time of periodic checkup. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios of depressive symptoms (CES-D scale scores of 16) with adjustment for potential confounding variables.

Results:

In total, 113 men (36.1%) and 79 women (36.4%) had depressive symptoms. A higher serum folate was associated with a decreased prevalence of depressive symptoms in men. The multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of depressive symptoms for the lowest to highest quartiles of serum folate were 1.00 (reference), 0.53 (0.27–1.03), 0.33 (0.16–0.68) and 0.51 (0.25–1.03), respectively (trend P=0.03). Furthermore, the data suggested a positive association between serum homocysteine and depressive symptoms in men (trend P=0.06). In women, neither folate nor homocysteine was associated with depressive symptoms.

Conclusions:

Low serum folate may be related to an increased prevalence of depressive symptoms in Japanese men.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Tamami Hatano, Yasumi Kimura, Akihiko Tanaka and Yuko Ejima (Kyushu University); Mio Ozawa (Fukuoka Women's University); and Akiko Hayashi and Kie Nagao (International Medical Center of Japan) for the help in data collection. This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C)(18590601) and (B)(21390213) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (to Dr Mizoue) and Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B)(21790598) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (to Dr Nanri).

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Correspondence to A Nanri.

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Contributors: AN was responsible for the data collection, data analysis, and paper preparation. TM was involved in the design of the study, data collection, data management, provided statistical expertise and contributed to the paper preparation. YM was involved in the data collection. SS was involved in the design of the study and data management. MO and MS were involved in the data collection. NM was involved in the design of the study. All the authors read and approved the paper.

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Nanri, A., Mizoue, T., Matsushita, Y. et al. Serum folate and homocysteine and depressive symptoms among Japanese men and women. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 289–296 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2009.143

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2009.143

Keywords

  • depression
  • folate
  • homocysteine
  • cross-sectional studies
  • Japanese

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