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Supplementation with essential nutrients may benefit symptoms of depression in elderly patients. Gariballa and Forster, Clinical Nutrition, 26(5):545-51, 2007 Oct

Paper

 

Supplementation with essential nutrients may benefit symptoms of depression in elderly patients. Gariballa and Forster, Clinical Nutrition, 26(5):545-51, 2007 Oct.

Details

This study investigated the effect of nutritional supplementation on mental health in older patients. 225 hospitalised, acutely ill, older patients were randomly assigned to receive either a normal hospital diet plus oral nutritional supplements or a normal hospital diet plus a placebo for six weeks. The nutritional supplement provided 995 kcal for energy (carbohydrate 45%, fat 35% and protein 20%) and 100% of the Reference Nutrient Intakes for a healthy old person for vitamins (A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, niacin, biotin and pantothenic acid), and minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, chloride, iron, zinc, iodine, copper, manganese and selenium). The placebo was identical to the supplement but contained no protein or micronutrients.

Participants completed questionnaires to assess depression and cognitive status at prior to beginning the trial and then at six weeks and six months. Nutritional status was also measured using blood samples.

Participants in the supplement group showed significant increases in red cell folate and plasma vitamin B12 concentrations in contrast to the placebo group which showed decreasing levels. At six months, there were also significant differences in symptoms of depression in the supplement group compared with the placebo group. These differences were seen in subjects with no previous symptoms, mild depression and severe depression.

Gariballa, S. and Forster, S., ‘Effects of dietary supplements on depressive symptoms in older patients: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial’, Clinical Nutrition, 26(5): 545-51, 2007