Objective: Elevated serum levels of the amino acid homocysteine (HCY) are associated with a variety of diseases. To resolve conflicting findings in studies that suggest a relationship between elevated serum HCY levels and depression, we examined the relationship between HCY levels and depressive symptoms in the largest sample studied to date. Method: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 11,757 participants (68.9% men) aged 20 to 90 years who completed preventive health examinations at the Cooper Clinic, Dallas, Texas, from 2007 to 2010. Currently experiencing depression was defined as a 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) score of ≥ 10. Serum HCY levels were obtained. Data were analyzed in a multiple logistic regression model of CES-D score of ≥ 10. Results: When controlling for age, sex, body mass index, exercise, education, smoking, antidepressant use, creatinine level, alcohol use, and chronic medical conditions, elevated HCY was associated with 26% greater odds of currently experiencing depressive symptoms (P = .007) as defined by CES-D score. Conclusions: In the largest sample examined to date, we found a significant positive relationship between elevated serum HCY levels and currently experiencing depressive symptoms. Given the cross-sectional nature of the study, it is not possible to determine the direction of the relationship or whether lowering HCY levels will ameliorate depressive symptoms. Thus, longitudinal studies are needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health