The Association between Depression and the Dietary Intakes of Tryptophan and Vitamin B6

Mohamed Alabbasi1, Yusuf Bucheery1, Abdulrahman Masood1, Mai Salah Yousuf Sater1,2, Eman Ahmed Haji1,2, Haifa Mohammed Saleh Al Gahtani1,3, Omar Alhaj4, Haitham Jahrami1,2*

1College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Kingdom of Bahrain, 2Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Bahrain, 3Renewal and Reward Center, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 4 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of Petra, Amman, Jordan

*Corresponding author:  Dr. Haitham Jahrami, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, P.O. Box: 26671, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, E-mail: [email protected]


Background: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is converted to serotonin in the central nervous system (CNS), with vitamin B6 as a cofactor. Serotonin levels are inversely related to the occurrence of depression. We hypothesized that cases with depression have less tryptophan and vitamin B6 intake compared to healthy controls. Subjects and Methods: This case-control study compared 96 cases with depression to 96 matched controls. A food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was administered to estimate tryptophan and vitamin B6 intake. Depression severity was assessed using BDI-II categorization. Multiple linear regression explored the relationship between tryptophan, vitamin B6, and other variables. Results: Both groups met the recommended daily allowance (RDA), as the mean daily intake of tryptophan and vitamin B6 was 0.7 g/d and 2.1 mg/d, respectively. Depression severity was linked only to the mean daily tryptophan intake. Cases with higher educational level and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) had low tryptophan intake. For vitamin B6, cases with higher age had a low intake, while higher income and diabetes showed higher intake. Female controls had lower vitamin B6 intake compared to males. Conclusion: There was no association between depression and dietary tryptophan and vitamin B6 with depression. However, educational level, DM, age, income, and gender may have an effect on these nutrients.

Keywords: Depression, Dietary Intake, Tryptophan, Vitamin B6

Citation: Mohamed Alabbasi, Yusuf Bucheery, Abdulrahman Masood, Mai Salah Yousuf Sater, Eman Ahmed Haji, Haifa Mohammed Saleh Al Gahtani, Omar Alhaj,  Haitham Jahrami. The Association between Depression and the Dietary Intakes of Tryptophan and Vitamin B6. Canadian Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2021; 9 (1): 4-18.