Dietary intakes of saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omega-6, and omega-3 fatty acids in relation to self-reported anxiety, self-reported depression, and risk for clinical depression in the civilian, non-institutionalized adult population in the United States
Brault, Hayven Sea
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The primary aim of this study was to elucidate any relationships between various fatty acid intakes and self-reported anxiety, self-reported depression, and risk for clinical depression in a nationally-representative sample of United States (U.S.) adults. Other study aims were to examine usual intakes of designated fatty acids and diet quality across levels of self-reported anxiety, self-reported depression, and risk for clinical depression in the same sample. Participants (n = 5139) in this cross-sectional study were adults (> 20 years) in the U.S. who participated in the 2015-2016 survey cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). There were no significant differences in fatty acid intakes among frequencies of self-reported anxiety. Intakes of monounsaturated fatty acids (MFA), saturated fatty acids (SFA), palmitic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFA), omega 6 fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) decreased as frequency of self-reported feelings of depression increased and risk for clinical depression increased. Additionally, intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) decreased as risk for clinical depression increased. Overall Healthy Eating Index scores (HEI-scores), or diet quality, were suboptimal for all subjects. No significant differences were found for diet quality across frequencies of self-reported anxiety. There was a moderate negative correlation between self-reported depression frequency and diet quality (p = 0.0002). Subjects with minimal risk for clinical depression had significantly greater diet quality (measured by HEI-scores) compared to subjects with mild to severe risk for clinical depression (p = 0.0003). Palmitic acid was positively correlated with self-reported frequency of anxiety (p = 0.0075), but no other fatty acids were significant predictors of self-reported anxiety or depression, or risk for clinical depression. This study demonstrates distinct differences in how anxiety and depressive disorders impact U.S. adult’s diet quality, and that both disorders do not hold the same risks for various dietary deficiencies.