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    Dietary intake of long-chain n-3 PUFA (n-3 PUFA), particularly EPA and DHA, has been associated with psychological well-being, but little is known about the n-3 PUFA intake of homeless youth. The current study determined the association between depression and anxiety symptoms and n-3 PUFA intake and erythrocytes status in homeless youth. Totally, 114 homeless youth aged 18-24 years were recruited from a drop-in centre. n-3 PUFA dietary intake was assessed using an FFQ, and erythrocytes status was determined by gas chromatography (GC). Linear regression models were used to determine the relationship between psychological well-being and n-3 PUFA intake and status. The mean intakes of EPA and DHA for all participants (0·06 ± 0·13 g/d and 0·11 ± 0·24 g/d) were well below recommended levels, and mean erythrocytes EPA + DHA (n-3 index) in the cohort (2·42 %) was lower than reported for healthy, housed adolescents and those with clinical depression. There was no association of n-3 PUFA intake and erythrocytes status with either depression or anxiety. However, the relationships of depression with dietary EPA (P = 0·017) and DHA (P = 0·008), as well as erythrocytes DHA (P = 0·007) and n 3-index (P = 0·009), were significantly moderated by sex even after adjusting for confounders. Specifically, among females, as the intake and status of these n-3 PUFA decreased, depression increased. Our findings show poor dietary intake and low erythrocytes status of n-3 PUFA among homeless youth, which is associated with depressive symptoms among females.


    Sarah Beth Dunn, Tonya S Orchard, Rebecca Andridge, Susan M Rymut, Natasha Slesnick, Irene E Hatsu. Mental health in society's margins: poor n-3 PUFA intake and psychological well-being of homeless youth. The British journal of nutrition. 2024 Feb 28;131(4):698-706

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    PMID: 37737219

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