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A prospective analysis of dietary fiber intake and mental health quality of life in the Iowa Women’s Health Study

  • Seth Ramin
    Affiliations
    University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN, United States
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  • Margaret A. Mysz
    Affiliations
    University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN, United States
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  • Katie Meyer
    Affiliations
    University of North Carolina, Department of Nutrition and Nutrition Research Institute, Chapel Hill, NC, United States
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  • Benjamin Capistrant
    Affiliations
    University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN, United States

    Universty of Minnesota, Minnesota Population Center, Minneapolis, MN, United States

    Smith College, School of Social Work, Northampton, MA, United States
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  • DeAnn Lazovich
    Affiliations
    University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN, United States

    University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, Minneapolis, MN, United States
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  • Anna Prizment
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, 1300 S 2nd st, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454, United States.
    Affiliations
    University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN, United States

    University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, Minneapolis, MN, United States
    Search for articles by this author

      Highlights

      • In this study, dietary fiber intake was positively associated with mental health quality of life scores later in life.
      • This association suggests a role for dietary fiber in mental health, as quality of life score can reflect depression risk.
      • The fiber intake - mental health quality of life score association differs across fiber source (whole grain vs. refined).

      Abstract

      Objective

      Recent studies have reported associations between dietary intake and mental health. Dietary fiber is one nutrient that may modulate mental health, specifically depression risk, through the gut microbiome. We prospectively examined the association between dietary fiber intake and mental health-related quality of life (QOL) scores, a proxy for depressive symptoms, in a cohort of 14,129 post-menopausal women in the Iowa Women’s Health Study.

      Methods

      Dietary intake was assessed at baseline [1986] using a 127-item food frequency questionnaire. Mental health-related QOL scores were assessed at the follow-up questionnaire [2004] using the Mental Health (MH) component and Mental Health Composite (MCS) scales derived from the SF-36 Health Survey. The association between dietary fiber intake and mean QOL scores was examined using linear regression, with adjustment for age, alcohol intake, energy intake, waist-to-hip ratio, physical activity, smoking status, and education.

      Results

      The median dietary fiber intake was 19.0 g/day, ranging from 1.1 to 89.4 g/day. Multivariable-adjusted mean MH scores were higher among those with higher fiber intake (P for trend = 0.02). For MCS score, the association with fiber intake observed in a model adjusted for age and energy intake became insignificant after multivariable adjustment.

      Conclusions

      Our study is one of the first prospective analyses of the association between higher dietary fiber intake and increased MH QOL scores later in life. Given a plausible biological mechanism underlying the association between fiber intake and mental health, additional studies are warranted.

      Keywords

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