Poster Topical Area: Carotenoids and Retinoids

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 8

E01-08 - Fruit, Vegetables, Carotenoids and Depression in Puerto Rican Adult

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objective: This research is intended to help better understand the concept of how diet may influence psychological well-being, more specifically, depressive disorder in the Boston Puerto Rican population. While there are many causes of depression, the major aim of this project was to understand the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and depressive symptomology. Total plasma carotenoids served as biomarkers for fruit and vegetable intake.


Methods: Data were from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (participants at baseline were 45-75 years old). SAS (version 9.4) was used to conduct analyses including univariates, correlations, t-tests, and logistic regressions. Depression was measured with the CES-D scale from 0-60. Those with a CES-D score of greater than or equal to 16 were considered to have depressive symptomology for these analyses. A FFQ was administered to the population in which they reported their fruit and vegetable intakes, which further included the intake of dietary carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein and zeaxanthin. Blood was drawn and total plasma carotenoids were evaluated. After conducting basic analyses, adjustments were made for age, sex, BMI, smoking status, triglycerides, and total energy intake, as appropriate for each model.


Results: The mean intake of fruit and vegetables was 1.01 servings, with a standard deviation of 0.82 and range of 0-8.00. The fruit and vegetable intake variables used were those after an adjustment, which excludes lettuce, potatoes, legumes and fruit juice. The mean total plasma carotenoid concentration was 92.9 ug/dl, with a standard deviation of 38.0 ug/dl and range of 1-399 ug/dl. Plasma carotenoid concentration was significantly associated with depressive symptomatology after adjustment for age, sex and BMI, but this was attenuated in more complex models. Fruit and vegetable intake remained significant across the adjustment for covariates in relation to depressive symptoms.


Conclusion: Fruit and vegetables, mediated by plasma carotenoids may contribute to improved well-being. On the other hand, those with depression may consume a lower quality diet. Longitudinal models are needed to clarify the direction of causality.



Funding Source:

NIH P50 HL105185; NIH P01 AG023394; NIH R01AG055948


Table 1

CoAuthors: Luis Falcon – UMass Lowell; Katherine Tucker – UMass Lowell

Kaylea Flanagan

University of Massachsuetts Lowell
Lowell, Massachusetts