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J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Jun;27(3):421-7.

Vitamin B6 is associated with depressive symptomatology in Massachusetts elders.

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Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



We examined the cross-sectional relationship between dietary vitamin B6 and plasma pyridoxyl-5'-phosphate concentrations (PLP) with depressive symptomatology among a representative sample of 618 elderly Caribbean Hispanics, and a neighborhood based comparison group of 251 non-Hispanic white (NHW) older adults in Massachusetts.


Depressive symptomatology was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). 41% of Hispanics and 22.6% of NHWs had CES-D scores greater than 16, indicating depressive caseness. Dietary intake was calculated from a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) designed for this population.


PLP was significantly associated with CES-D score and depressive caseness in the total sample and in non-supplement users. Deficient levels of plasma PLP (plasma PLP < 20 nmol/L) approximately doubled the likelihood of depressive caseness. Total intake (diet + supplement) of vitamin B(6) was not associated with these outcomes. However, dietary vitamin B(6) was significantly associated with CES-D score and depressive caseness.


Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the direction of causality between vitamin B6 and depressive symptoms.

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