Cross-sectional association of seafood consumption, polyunsaturated fatty acids and depressive symptoms in two Torres Strait communities

Berger, Maximus, Taylor, Sean, Harriss, Linton, Campbell, Sandra, Thompson, Fintan, Jones, Samuel, Makrides, Maria, Gibson, Robert, Amminger, G. Paul, Sarnyai, Zoltan, and McDermott, Robyn (2020) Cross-sectional association of seafood consumption, polyunsaturated fatty acids and depressive symptoms in two Torres Strait communities. Nutritional Neuroscience, 23 (5). pp. 353-362.

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Background: Dietary intake of long-chain omega 3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) represents a putative modifiable risk factor for depression, and a high ratio of omega 6 (n-6) to n-3 LCPUFA is frequently observed in patients with major depressive disorder. Recent reports suggest that the availability of fish and seafood may be associated with lower depression rates. The aim of this study was to investigate associations of fish consumption and LCPUFA levels with depressive symptoms.

Methods: Participants for this cross-sectional study (n=206) were recruited at a community screening programme in two Torres Strait Islander communities (Mer and Waiben). Depressive symptoms were assessed with the adapted Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (aPHQ-9) and diet with a structured questionnaire. LCPUFA concentrations were measured with a capillary dried blood spot system (PUFAcoat). Logistic and quantile regression modelling was used to test the relationship between seafood consumption, membrane LCPUFAs and depression scores.

Results: A higher blood n-6/3 LCPUFA ratio was associated with moderate/severe depression scores across both study sites (OR=1.59 (95%CI 1.09–2.34), P = .017). Seafood consumption was higher and the proportion of participants with aPHQ-9 scores above the cut-off for depression was lower on Mer (n = 100) compared with Waiben (n = 106). Higher seafood consumption was associated with lower depression scores on Waiben (B = −0.57 (95%CI −0.98 – −0.16), P = .006) but not on Mer.

Conclusions: Our findings support an association of n-3 LCPUFA from natural sources with depressive symptoms. The availability of fresh seafood in the local diet may represent a protective factor for depression in this setting.

Item ID: 56989
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1476-8305
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, depression, Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, DHA, Screening, PHQ-9
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Additional Information:

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 7 of the following PhD thesis: Berger, Maximus (2018) Biological endophenotypes of prodromal psychosis and depression. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC grant number GNT0631947
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2019 00:18
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4504 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing > 450405 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diet and nutrition @ 33%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3209 Neurosciences > 320999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified @ 34%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3210 Nutrition and dietetics > 321099 Nutrition and dietetics not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 50%
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