Nutrient deficiency profiles and depression: A latent class analysis study of American population

Marcin Owczarek, Joanna Jurek, Emma Nolan, Mark Shevlin

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Research into the effects of nutrition on depression is often performed by examining the effects of singular nutrients and dietary styles (e.g.: vegan, Mediterranean). The present study is the first one to establish the effects of patterns of nutritional deficiency within the American population and examines their effects on depression. Methods: Data was drawn from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Latent class analysis was performed to identify homogeneous groups of nutrient deficiency. A 3-step analysis was performed to establish class-dependant differences in depression severity. BCH analysis revealed unique predictors of depression dependant on most probable class. Results: Analysis revealed 4 classes of nutrient deficiency. Magnesium and dietary fibre were the least endorsed. ‘Nutrient deprived’ individuals showed the highest depression severity (Mean = 4.137, SD = 0.337). Profiles were predicted by different socioeconomic and anthropogenic predictors with meeting minimum calories showing the strongest odds of not being nutrient deprived (OR between 5.44 and 11.11). Overall, age (β = −0.115, p ≤ 0.01) and income (β = −0.147, p ≤ 0.01) were the strongest protecting factors while being female (β = 0.128, p ≤ 0.01) and arthritis (β = 0.130, p ≤ 0.01) were the strongest risk factors. Limitations: The study involved binary variables based on minimum daily intakes and did not account for positive effects of exceeding minimum recommended doses. Conclusions: The study supports the notion of a negative relationship between good nutrition and depression. Finding unique risk factors for depression symptoms supports the utility of nutrient deficiency profiling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date30 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the NHANES initiative for providing the data used in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Psychonutrition
  • Depression
  • Diet
  • Nutrient deficiency


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