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Low intake of B-vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behaviour


Herbison, CE and Hickling, S and Allen, KL and O'Sullivan, TA and Robinson, M and Bremner, AP and Huang, RC and Beilin, LJ and Mori, TA and Oddy, WH, Low intake of B-vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behaviour, Preventive Medicine, 55, (6) pp. 634-638. ISSN 0091-7435 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.09.014


OBJECTIVE: The current prevalence of mental health problems in Western populations is approximately 20% and half of all adult mental health disorders are estimated to originate in adolescence. Diet plays an important role in modulating psychological wellbeing and B-vitamins are vital for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. We aimed to examine the relationship between B-group vitamins and adolescent mental health and behaviour.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional analysis of the West Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. The 17-year follow-up included collection of a food frequency questionnaire allowing B-vitamin intake calculation. Mental health was assessed using the Youth Self Report (YSR) which measures total, internalising (withdrawn/depressed) and externalising (aggressive/delinquent) behaviour scores. Multiple linear regression was used to analyse associations between B-vitamins and mental health with adjustment for relevant confounders (n=709).

RESULTS: Lower intake of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate was associated with higher externalising behaviour scores (p ≤ 0.05). Reduced intake of vitamin B6 and folate was associated with higher internalising behaviour scores (p ≤ 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Poor nutrition may contribute to the pathogenesis of mental health problems in adolescence. The role of B-vitamins requires further investigation in randomised controlled trials.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Vitamin, Adolescent, Behaviour, Internalising, Externalising, Mental health, Nutrition, YSR, B-vitamin
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Sport and exercise nutrition
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Oddy, WH (Professor Wendy Oddy)
ID Code:108589
Year Published:2016 (online first 2012)
Web of Science® Times Cited:31
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2016-04-26
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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