The Mediterranean Diet - Detail - © oregonsportsnews.com

Dietary Supplements Can’t Fight Depression

If you already take something for your heart, or your joint pain, why not take something for your brain? You’ve probably heard that line in a commercial. But a recent study of data collected through the global MooDFOOD clinical trial says no vitamin or mineral supplement can fight depression…

The Mediterranean Diet - © oregonsportsnews.comThe much-celebrated Mediterranean Diet once again shines in new findings
about maintaining mental health. But leave the Supplements on the shelf…

The MooDFOOD project, begun in 2014, is described on its website as: “…a multidisciplinary consortium involving 13 organizations in 9 European countries. Using an integrative approach, MooDFOOD has combined expertise in nutrition, preventive psychology, consumer behaviour and psychiatry to investigate the potential of food in the prevention of depression.”

What they did…

The final report of the MooDFOOD project, to be published in May in The Journal of the American Medical Association, describes its methodology thusly:

“Over 1000 overweight or obese participants identified as being at elevated risk for depression but who were not currently depressed, from four European countries -the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, took part in the study. Participants were randomized to either take nutritional supplements containing folic acid, vitamin D, zinc, selenium or to a pill placebo, and half of participants also received a behavioural lifestyle intervention intended to change dietary behaviours and patterns.”

What they found…

Dr. Mariska Bot of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre reports: “Daily intake of nutritional supplements over a year does not effectively prevent the onset of a major depressive episode in this sample. Nutritional supplements were not better than [a] placebo. Therapeutic sessions aimed at making changes towards a healthy dietary behaviour did also not convincingly prevent depression”.

The takeaway…

There’s nothing in the Supplement aisle that can cure or even help your depression, much less cure it. Alas! Not even the stuff that was first discovered in Jellyfish.

But sticking to a high-quality diet can help promote better mental health overall, including helping to fight depression.

The final recommendations of the project are encapsulated in three points:

  • First, a healthy dietary pattern, typified by a Mediterranean style diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, pulses and olive oil, and low in red meat and full-fat dairy products, may reduce the risk of developing depression.
  • Second, in people with obesity, weight loss can lead to a reduction in depressive symptoms.
  • Third, current evidence does not support the use of nutritional supplements in order to prevent depression.

My take…

There’s that Mediterranean Diet again!

It keeps cropping up as a recommendation in the findings of learned studies on a vast array of medical and health conditions… ‘There must be something to it!’ I hear you say. I say so, too. ‘But all that fresh Produce and Fish is expensive,’ you say. Nevertheless, a recent study by researchers at the University of California suggests a family of four can enjoy a healthy diet for under (US)$30 per day – if care is taken in menu planning and the family food shopper takes advantage of Supermarket sales and Bulk Store savings. It may not be quick or convenient, but it can be done…

~ Maggie J.

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