An anti-inflammatory diet as a potential intervention for depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Open AccessPublished:November 20, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2018.11.007

      Summary

      Background & aims

      There is a large body of evidence which supports the role of inflammation in the pathophysiology of mental health disorders, including depression. Dietary patterns have been shown to modulate the inflammatory state, thus highlighting their potential as a therapeutic tool in disorders with an inflammatory basis. Here we conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of current literature addressing whether there is a link between the inflammatory potential of a diet and risk of depression or depressive symptoms.

      Methods

      A systematic literature search was performed to identify studies that reported an association between the inflammatory potential of the diet and risk of depressive symptoms or diagnosis of depression. Random effect models were used to meta-analyse effect sizes. Quality assessment, publication bias, sensitivity and subgroup analyses were also performed.

      Results

      Eleven studies, with a total of 101,950 participants at baseline (age range: 16–72 years old), were eligible for review. A significant association between a pro-inflammatory diet and increased risk of depression diagnosis or symptoms was evident, relative to those on an anti-inflammatory diet (OR: 1.40, 95% confidence intervals: 1.21–1.62, P < 0.001). No publication bias was detected; however, some study heterogeneity was evident (I2 = 63%, P < 0.001). Subgroup analyses suggested the main source of study heterogeneity was the study design (cross-sectional or longitudinal) and the effect measure used (odds ratio, hazard ratio or relative risk).

      Conclusion

      These results provide an association between pro-inflammatory diet and risk of depression. Thus, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may be an effective intervention or preventative means of reducing depression risk and symptoms.

      Keywords

      1. Introduction

      Ranked the single largest contributor to non-fatal health loss, depression affects an estimated 322 million people globally, equivalent to 4.4% of the population [
      • World Health Organization
      Depression and other common mental disorders: global health estimates.
      ]. In recent years, links between chronic inflammation and a range of neurological diseases have been established, including depression [
      • Miller A.H.
      • Maletic V.
      • Raison C.L.
      Inflammation and its discontents: the role of cytokines in the pathophysiology of major depression.
      ,
      • Miller A.H.
      • Raison C.L.
      The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target.
      ]. For example, previous meta-analyses have revealed increased pro-inflammatory peripheral cytokine levels in those with depression, compared to non-depressed individuals [
      • Goldsmith D.R.
      • Rapaport M.H.
      • Miller B.J.
      A meta-analysis of blood cytokine network alterations in psychiatric patients: comparisons between schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
      ,
      • Dowlati Y.
      • Herrmann N.
      • Swardfager W.
      • Liu H.
      • Sham L.
      • Reim E.K.
      • et al.
      A meta-analysis of cytokines in major depression.
      ]. Further, anti-inflammatory therapies have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms in inflammatory-related conditions, such as arthritis and cancers [
      • Miller A.H.
      • Raison C.L.
      The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target.
      ]. Evidence has also emerged that proposes an interaction between inflammatory status and responsiveness to certain related medications. For example, one study measuring levels of blood C-reactive protein (CRP), a proxy for peripheral inflammation, predicted differential responses to escitalopram and nortriptyline in those with major depressive disorder (MDD) [
      • Uher R.
      • Tansey K.E.
      • Dew T.
      • Maier W.
      • Mors O.
      • Hauser J.
      • et al.
      An inflammatory biomarker as a differential predictor of outcome of depression treatment with escitalopram and nortriptyline.
      ]. Collectively, these studies exemplify the inflammatory component of depression pathogenesis and highlight the potential of reducing symptoms through anti-inflammatory interventions.
      Extensive research has found diet to modulate inflammatory factors, with numerous studies finding a variety of specific dietary nutrients to have a range of anti-inflammatory properties. For example, consumption of wholegrains has been associated with lower inflammatory markers (CRP), whereas lower wholegrain intake has been shown to increase inflammatory marker (interleukin-6; IL-6) concentrations [
      • Hajihashemi P.
      • Azadbakht L.
      • Hashemipor M.
      • Kelishadi R.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      Whole-grain intake favorably affects markers of systemic inflammation in obese children: a randomized controlled crossover clinical trial.
      ,
      • Gaskins A.J.
      • Mumford S.L.
      • Rovner A.J.
      • Zhang C.
      • Chen L.
      • Wactawski-Wende J.
      • et al.
      Whole grains are associated with serum concentrations of high sensitivity C-reactive protein among premenopausal women.
      ,
      • Goletzke J.
      • Buyken A.E.
      • Joslowski G.
      • Bolzenius K.
      • Remer T.
      • Carstensen M.
      • et al.
      Increased intake of carbohydrates from sources with a higher glycemic index and lower consumption of whole grains during puberty are prospectively associated with higher IL-6 concentrations in younger adulthood among healthy individuals.
      ,
      • Oddy W.H.
      • Allen K.L.
      • Trapp G.S.A.
      • Ambrosini G.L.
      • Black L.J.
      • Huang R.-C.
      • et al.
      Dietary patterns, body mass index and inflammation: pathways to depression and mental health problems in adolescents.
      ]. Results from the ATTICA study have highlighted increased intake of choline, a nutrient found in high quantities in eggs, broccoli and cauliflower, and betaine is associated with lower peripheral inflammatory levels, such as CRP, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) [
      • Detopoulou P.
      • Panagiotakos D.B.
      • Antonopoulou S.
      • Pitsavos C.
      • Stefanadis C.
      Dietary choline and betaine intakes in relation to concentrations of inflammatory markers in healthy adults: the ATTICA study.
      ]. In addition to specific nutrients, a link between dietary patterns and inflammation has also been established [
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Hoffmann K.
      • Manson J.E.
      • Willett W.C.
      • Meigs J.B.
      • Weikert C.
      • et al.
      Dietary pattern, inflammation, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women.
      ].
      Over recent years studies have investigated the role of diet in the development of depression due to its influence on inflammatory pathways, however, results remain inconclusive. For example, Akbaraly and colleagues found a pro-inflammatory diet may increase the risk of depression in females and not males [
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ], whereas others have found the reverse to be true [
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ]. Further, many of these studies often contain restricted populations, for example middle-aged Australian women [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ] or Iranian adolescents [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and stress levels in adolescent women in Iran.
      ], therefore results are not generalizable to a wider population.
      Thus, the aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis examining current literature regarding depression and the inflammatory potential of the diet to determine if diet could be an effective treatment for depression.

      2. Methods

      This review was performed in accordance to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) statement [
      • Liberati A.
      • Altman D.G.
      • Tetzlaff J.
      • Mulrow C.
      • Gøtzsche P.C.
      • Ioannidis J.P.A.
      • et al.
      The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate healthcare interventions: explanation and elaboration.
      ] to answer the following question: does a pro-inflammatory diet associate with depression or depressive symptoms, compared to an anti-inflammatory diet in adults? A standardised review protocol has not been published.

      2.1 Search strategy

      A systematic literature search of the PubMed and Scopus databases were performed to identify relevant studies, from inception and up to 3rd October 2018, by two independent reviewers (K.T. and S.B.). The following search terms were used: inflammat* AND diet AND depress*. Searches were limited to journal articles written in English. Relevant references within retrieved studies and an earlier review [
      • Lassale C.
      • Batty G.D.
      • Baghdadli A.
      • Jacka F.
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Kivimäki M.
      • et al.
      Healthy dietary indices and risk of depressive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.
      ] were also manually searched.

      2.2 Inclusion and exclusion criteria

      Studies that met the following criteria were included: (i) measured the inflammatory potential of the diet; (ii) measured the incidence of depression or depressive symptoms; (iii) reported effect size and confidence intervals (CI) for the association between an inflammatory diet and depression. Exclusion criteria included: (i) inflammatory potential of the diet was not measured; (ii) depression or depressive symptoms were not reported; (iii) duplicate study population.

      2.3 Data extraction

      Data and characteristics extracted from each study included: study design, location, number of subjects at baseline, percentage of females, baseline age, length of study follow-up, assessment of depression, assessment of inflammatory potential of the diet, effect sizes for the association between a pro-inflammatory diet and depressive symptoms with 95% CI's and model adjustments. Since the majority of articles reported sex-specific effects, where possible, separate effect sizes for males and females were extracted.
      Studies reported different effects: odds ratio (OR), hazard ratio (HR) and relative risk (RR) effects. These were combined, and results presented as OR representing the likelihood of depression or depressive symptoms in the highest inflammatory diet group, compared to the lowest inflammatory diet group. Differences in reported effects were explored during sub-group analysis.
      Where studies had stratified subjects into groups (tertiles, quartiles and quintiles), the pro-inflammatory diet was defined as the highest grouping and the anti-inflammatory diet was defined as the lowest grouping.
      Where multiple model testing was applied, the model with the most adjustments was extracted for analysis.
      When studies utilised the same study population, the study with the largest number of participants at baseline was selected and the others discarded from the meta-analysis. This resulted in a study involving Iranian adolescents being preferred in one article (n = 300) [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ], as opposed to another (n = 299) [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and stress levels in adolescent women in Iran.
      ]. Further, we selected the study by Wirth and colleagues to represent the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) population (n = 18,875) [
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ], as opposed to those by other research groups (n = 11,592–11,624) [
      • Bergmans R.S.
      • Malecki K.M.
      The association of dietary inflammatory potential with depression and mental well-being among U.S. adults.
      ,
      • Jorgensen D.
      • White G.E.
      • Sekikawa A.
      • Gianaros P.
      Higher dietary inflammation is associated with increased odds of depression independent of framingham risk score in the national health and nutrition examination Survey.
      ].

      2.4 Quality assessment

      The Newcastle–Ottawa Scale (NOS) for cohort studies was used to assess study quality and risk of bias in studies [
      • Wells G.
      • Shea B.
      • O'Connell D.
      • Peterson J.
      • Welch V.
      • Losos M.
      • et al.
      The Newcastle - scale for assessing the quality of nonrandomised studies in meta-analyses.
      ], by two independent reviewers (S.B and C.M). We modified the original scale to fit our analysis (Supplementary material). Specifically, the scale was divided into three categories (selection, comparability and outcome). A maximum score of 7 or 8 points were available for cross-sectional and longitudinal studies respectively. Total scores were converted to percentages, to account for differences in total scores available, and scores of ≥75% were considered to be of high quality, whereas those with <75% were classed as lower quality.

      2.5 Statistical analysis

      Meta-analysis was performed using the metafor package in R [
      • Viechtbauer W.
      Conducting meta-analyses in R with the metafor package.
      ]. Due to the anticipated variability in methodologies between studies, we utilised random effect models throughout.
      Heterogeneity between studies was assessed using the I2 index which represents the percentage of variation across studies due to inconsistency rather than chance.
      Potential publication bias was assessed through visual examination of funnel plots and through the Egger's regression test [
      • Egger M.
      • Smith G.D.
      • Schneider M.
      • Minder C.
      Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test.
      ].
      Sensitivity analysis was performed through two approaches. The first was the leave-1-method, which simultaneously applies the random effect models whilst leaving a single study out at a time. Secondly, subgroup analysis was performed to investigate the overall results based on the following categorical variables: sex (male, female or mixed populations), study design (cross-sectional or longitudinal), average age at baseline (<50 or ≥50 years old), inflammatory dietary assessment (Dietary Inflammatory Index; DII or cytokine measures), study follow-up period (<10 or ≥10 years), study effect measure (odds ratio, hazard ratio or relative risk) and quality score (high quality or lower quality).

      3. Results

      3.1 Study selection

      The search strategy returned 1173 potential articles for inclusion of which 1147 were excluded based on title and/or abstract screening (Fig. 1). Fourteen articles remained for full-text screening, of which 3 [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and stress levels in adolescent women in Iran.
      ,
      • Bergmans R.S.
      • Malecki K.M.
      The association of dietary inflammatory potential with depression and mental well-being among U.S. adults.
      ,
      • Jorgensen D.
      • White G.E.
      • Sekikawa A.
      • Gianaros P.
      Higher dietary inflammation is associated with increased odds of depression independent of framingham risk score in the national health and nutrition examination Survey.
      ] were excluded as they contained a duplicate study population. Thus, 11 articles containing 17 populations (6 males, 9 females and 2 mixed sex), were the focus of this meta-analysis.
      Fig. 1
      Fig. 1Flow chart demonstrating the search strategy for the meta-analysis.

      3.2 Quality assessment

      Included studies were assessed using a modified NOS (Supplementary material). Eight studies [
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ] were determined to be of high quality and of low risk of bias, whereas three [
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      ] had lower quality (Supplementary Table 1).

      3.3 Study characteristics

      In total, the included studies contained 101,950 participants at baseline with ages ranging from 16 to 74 years old (Table 1). Most studies reported separate effects for male and female participants, whereas two studies reported effects for mixed sex [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ]. Seven studies [
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ] were longitudinal, with follow-up periods of 5–13 years, while 4 were cross-sectional [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      ].
      Table 1Characteristics of studies included in the meta-analysis.
      StudyLocation (cohort)DesignFollow-up, yearsSubjects at baseline, nFemales, %Age at baseline
      Lucas et al., 2014
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      USA (Nurses' Health Study)Longitudinal1243,68510062.6 ± 7.0
      Sanchez-Villages et al., 2015
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      Spain (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra)Longitudinal8.515,0935938.3 ± 12.1
      Akbaraly et al., 2016
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      UK (Whitehall II)Longitudinal542462560.9 ± 5.9
      Shivappa et al., 2016
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      Australia (Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health)Longitudinal12643810052.0 ± 1.4
      Wirth et al., 2017
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      USA (National Health and Nutrition Examination Sturvey)Cross-sectionalN/A18,8755146.4
      Adjibade et al., 2017
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      France (Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux Antioxydants)Longitudinal12.635235849.5 ± 6.2
      Phillips et al., 2018
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      Ireland (Cork and Kerry Diabetes and Heart Disease Study)Cross-sectionalN/A19925159.7 ± 5.5
      Shivappa et al., 2018
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      IranCross-sectionalN/A30010016.2 ± 1.0
      Shivappa et al., 2018
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      USA (Osteoarthritis Initiative)Longitudinal836085761.4 ± 9.2
      Vermeulen et al., 2018
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      Italy (InCHIANTI)Longitudinal98275873.8 ± 6.8
      Haghighatdoost et al., 2018
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      Iran (Study on the Epidemiology of Psychological, Alimentary Health and Nutrition)Cross-sectionalN/A33635936.2 ± 9.2
      Details regarding the definition and criteria for depression and depressive symptoms, the assessment of the inflammatory diet used, and the model adjustments used for each study can be found in Table 2. Briefly, most studies assessed the inflammatory potential of the diet using the DII [
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      ], whereas two studies based their dietary inflammatory potential through blood cytokine quantifications [
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ]. Two studies [
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ] diagnosed depression by either self-reported physician diagnosis or anti-depressant use. The other studies measured depressive symptoms using a variety of methods, including the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) [
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ], Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) [
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ], Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-21) [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ] and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) [
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      ].
      Table 2Study specific case definition, methods of inflammatory diet assessment and effect size model adjustments.
      StudyCase definitionCriteria for caseAssessment of inflammatory dietFood parameters derivedModel adjustments
      Lucas et al., 2014
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      DepressionSelf-reported physician-diagnosed depression and regular antidepressant use (strict definition)Measured CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α receptor 239Age, BMI, total energy intake, smoking, physical activity, menopause status, HRT, marital status, retired, education, husband education, ethnicity, multivitamin use, reported diagnosis of cancer, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, diabetes, MHI-5 score at baseline, alcohol intake, caffeine intake
      Sanchez-Villages et al., 2015
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      DepressionUse of antidepressants and/or physician diagnosisDII28Age, BMI, smoking, physical activity during leisure time, use of vitamin supplements, total energy intake, presence of diseases at baseline (CVD, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemia)
      Akbaraly et al., 2016
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      Recurrent depressive symptomsCES-D score ≥16 or treated by antidepressantsDII27Age, ethnicity, total energy intake, socio-economic status, marital status, smoking habits, physical activity, alcohol intake, coronary heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, HDL-cholesterol, use of lipid-lowering drugs, central obesity, cognitive impairment
      Shivappa et al., 2016
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      Depressive symptomsCES-D-10 score ≥ 10DII26Total energy intake, highest qualification completed, marital status, menopause status, night sweats, major personal illness or injury, smoking, physical activity, BMI, depression diagnosis or treatment
      Wirth et al., 2017
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      Depressive symptomsPHQ-9 score ≥ 10DII26Race, education, marital status, perceived health, current infection status, family history of smoking, smoking status, past cancer diagnosis, arthritis, age, average nightly sleep duration
      Adjibade et al., 2017
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      Depressive symptomsCES-D (French) score ≥ 17 in men and ≥23 in womenDII36Age, intervention group during trial phase, education level, marital status, socio-professional status, energy intake without alcohol, number of 24-h dietary records, interval between the 2 CES-D measurements, smoking status, physical activity, BMI, cancer or cardiovascular events during follow-up
      Phillips et al., 2018
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      Depressive symptomsCES-D score ≥ 16DII26Age, BMI, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, antidepressant use, history of depression
      Shivappa et al., 2018
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      Depressive symptomsCES-D score ≥ 16DII24Age, sex, race, BMI, education, smoking habits, yearly income, Charlson Comorbidity Index, PASE score, CES-D at baseline, statins use, NSAIDs or cortisone use.
      Shivappa et al., 2018
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      At least mild level of depressive symptomsDASS-21 (Persian) score > 9DII31Age, energy, physical activity, BMI, smoking, presence of chronic disease, diet supplement use, salary, marital status
      Vermeulen et al., 2018
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      DepressionCED-D score ≥ 20Measured CRP, IL6 and TNF-α10Sex, age, marital status, education in years, depressive symptoms at baseline, IADL, smoking status, physical activity, antidepressant use, anti-inflammatory drugs, CVD, diabetes, waist circumference
      Haghighatdoost et al., 2018
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      Highest tertile of Mental Health Disorders profileFactor analysis using HADS and GHQ-12 scoresDII27Age, marital status, education, BMI, smoking, physical activity, anti-psychotropic medicine use, suffering from gastrointestinal disorders
      Key: CRP = C-reactive protein; IL-6 = interleukin-6; TNF-α = tumour necrosis factor alpha; BMI = body mass index; HRT = hormone replacement therapy; MHI-5 = mental health inventory; DII = Dietary Inflammatory Index; CES-D = Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; HDL = high-density lipoproteins; PHQ-9 = Patient Health Questionnaire; PASE = Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly; NSAID = non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; DASS-21 = Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale; IADL = Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living; HADS = Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; GHQ-12 = General Health Questionnaire.

      3.4 Association between pro-inflammatory diet and depression

      Collectively, individuals on the most pro-inflammatory diet had an increased likelihood of being either diagnosed with depression or presenting depressive symptoms, compared to those on with an anti-inflammatory dietary potential (Fig. 2; OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.21–1.62, P < 0.001). Despite this, significant study heterogeneity was found (I2 = 63.3%, P < 0.001).
      Fig. 2
      Fig. 2Random effects meta-analysis and forest plot for the association between a pro-inflammatory diet and depression diagnosis or depressive symptoms. Results are also sub-grouped by sex-specific populations.
      Since the majority of studies reported separate effect sizes for males and females, results were also sub-groups based on sex (Fig. 2). Effects were stronger in females (OR: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.23–2.00, P < 0.001), as opposed to males (OR: 1.31, 95% CI: 1.03–1.68, P = 0.029), whereas studies reporting mixed sex effects only were not significant (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 0.85–1.51, P = 0.380).

      3.5 Risk of publication bias

      Visual inspection of the funnel plot (Fig. 3) and the Egger's regression test (Z = 1.20, P = 0.229) suggested there was no presence of publication bias in the analysis.
      Fig. 3
      Fig. 3Funnel plot for the included study populations.

      3.6 Sensitivity and subgroup analyses

      The leave-1-out analysis confirmed the robustness of the model since the significance remained after simultaneously removing each study from the model.
      To further elaborate on the significant study heterogeneity observed, subgroup analyses was performed, whereby studies were stratified based on: study design, inflammatory dietary assessment, average age at baseline, follow-up period (longitudinal studies only), effect measure and quality score (Table 3).
      Table 3Subgroup analysis.
      Subgroup factorSubgroupPopulationsOR (95% CI)Overall effectHeterogeneity
      ZPI2P
      Study designCross-sectional7
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      1.61 (1.16–2.24)2.840.00566.7%0.007
      Longitudinal10
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      1.31 (1.20–1.44)6.00<0.0015.1%0.051
      Inflammatory dietary assessmentDII15
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      1.45 (1.21–1.72)4.15<0.00164.3%0.003
      Cytokine measures2
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      1.19 (0.78–1.83)0.810.42168.3%0.076
      Average age at baseline<50 years old9
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      1.53 (1.20–1.94)3.45<0.00161.5%0.012
      ≥50 years old8
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      1.30 (1.16–1.44)4.73<0.00114.2%0.039
      Follow-up period (longitudinal only)<10 years6
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      1.33 (1.10–1.61)2.980.00336.0%0.070
      ≥10 years4
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      1.30 (1.12–1.51)3.39<0.00129.5%0.084
      Effect measureOdds ratio12
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      1.47 (1.11–1.94)2.690.00770.2%0.004
      Hazard ratio3
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      1.34 (1.15–1.57)3.77<0.0010.0%0.515
      Relative risk2
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      1.33 (1.16–1.51)4.14<0.00132.2%0.225
      Quality scoreHigh quality12
      • Akbaraly T.
      • Kerlau C.
      • Wyart M.
      • Chevallier N.
      • Ndiaye L.
      • Shivappa N.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index and recurrence of depressive symptoms: results from the Whitehall II Study.
      ,
      • Adjibade M.
      • Andreeva V.A.
      • Lemogne C.
      • Touvier M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      The inflammatory potential of the diet is associated with depressive symptoms in different subgroups of the general population.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Schoenaker D.A.J.M.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Mishra G.D.
      Association between inflammatory potential of diet and risk of depression in middle-aged women: the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hebert J.R.
      • Neshatbini Tehrani A.
      • Bayzai B.
      • Naja F.
      • Rashidkhani B.
      A pro-inflammatory diet is associated with an increased odds of depression symptoms among iranian female adolescents: a cross-sectional study.
      ,
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Veronese N.
      • Caruso M.G.
      • Notarnicola M.
      • Maggi S.
      • et al.
      The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) and incident depressive symptoms: a longitudinal cohort study.
      ,
      • Lucas M.
      • Chocano-Bedoya P.
      • Schulze M.B.
      • Shulze M.B.
      • Mirzaei F.
      • O'Reilly É.J.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women.
      ,
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Ruíz-Canela M.
      • de la Fuente-Arrillaga C.
      • Gea A.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • et al.
      Dietary inflammatory index, cardiometabolic conditions and depression in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort study.
      ,
      • Phillips C.M.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Hébert J.R.
      • Perry I.J.
      Dietary inflammatory index and mental health: a cross-sectional analysis of the relationship with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being in adults.
      1.31 (1.23–1.47)6.51<0.0013.7%0.030
      Lower quality5
      • Wirth M.D.
      • Shivappa N.
      • Burch J.B.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hébert J.R.
      The dietary inflammatory index, shift work, and depression: results from NHANES.
      ,
      • Vermeulen E.
      • Brouwer I.A.
      • Stronks K.
      • Bandinelli S.
      • Ferrucci L.
      • Visser M.
      • et al.
      Inflammatory dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in Italian older adults.
      ,
      • Haghighatdoost F.
      • Feizi A.
      • Esmaillzadeh A.
      • Feinle-Bisset C.
      • Keshteli A.H.
      • Afshar H.
      • et al.
      Association between the dietary inflammatory index and common mental health disorders profile scores.
      1.43 (1.00–2.04)1.960.05075.5%0.004
      Key: OR = odds ratio; CI = confidence intervals; DII = Dietary Inflammatory Index.
      Overall, model effects were unaffected by the type of study design, average age of participants at baseline, effect measure used or quality score. Further, the significance in longitudinal studies was independent of the follow-up period. Model effects were dependent on the type of inflammatory dietary assessment used, with no significant effect seen in those utilising blood-based cytokine measures, as opposed to using the DII.
      Subgroup analysis also suggested the source of potential study heterogeneity may be applicable to the study design and effect measure used (Table 3).

      4. Discussion

      This meta-analysis of 11 studies, containing a total of 101,950 participants at baseline, suggests that those on a pro-inflammatory diet have a 1.4 increased likelihood of being diagnosed with depression or displaying depressive symptoms, as opposed to those on an anti-inflammatory diet.
      Our findings are consistent with recent analysis concerning the quality of diet and risk of depression. Specifically, adherence to a higher quality or healthier diet (e.g. the Mediterranean diet) is associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms in longitudinal and observational cohorts [
      • Lassale C.
      • Batty G.D.
      • Baghdadli A.
      • Jacka F.
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Kivimäki M.
      • et al.
      Healthy dietary indices and risk of depressive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.
      ,
      • Molendijk M.
      • Molero P.
      • Ortuño Sánchez-Pedreño F.
      • Van der Does W.
      • Angel Martínez-González M.
      Diet quality and depression risk: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies.
      ].
      Mechanisms by which a pro-inflammatory diet could increase the risk of depressive symptoms may be through pro-inflammatory nutrients activating the innate immune system that can lead to low-grade inflammation and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and mental health disorders [
      • Cordain L.
      • Eaton S.B.
      • Sebastian A.
      • Mann N.
      • Lindeberg S.
      • Watkins B.A.
      • et al.
      Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century.
      ,
      • Bosma-den Boer M.M.
      • van Wetten M.-L.
      • Pruimboom L.
      Chronic inflammatory diseases are stimulated by current lifestyle: how diet, stress levels and medication prevent our body from recovering.
      ]. At the molecular and cellular levels there is an increasing abundance of research demonstrating influences of dietary factors on markers of neuronal function and synaptic plasticity [
      • Sánchez-Villegas A.
      • Galbete C.
      • Martinez-González M.A.
      • Martinez J.A.
      • Razquin C.
      • Salas-Salvadó J.
      • et al.
      The effect of the Mediterranean diet on plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels: the PREDIMED-NAVARRA randomized trial.
      ,
      • Gómez-Pinilla F.
      Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function.
      ], mechanisms which are all involved in the aetiology of depression [
      • Jiang C.
      • Salton S.R.
      The role of neurotrophins in major depressive disorder.
      ]. For example, in mice the combination of exercise and an anti-inflammatory (flavonoid-enriched) diet has been found to increase the expression of genes that have positive effects on neuronal plasticity and decrease the expression of genes that are involved in deleterious processes including inflammation [
      • van Praag H.
      • Lucero M.J.
      • Yeo G.W.
      • Stecker K.
      • Heivand N.
      • Zhao C.
      • et al.
      Plant-derived flavanol (-)epicatechin enhances angiogenesis and retention of spatial memory in mice.
      ].
      The results of this analysis further support the use of the DII as a measure of the inflammatory potential of a diet. The DII was developed to provide a tool which could standardise the inflammatory potential of an individual's diet for use in epidemiological and clinical studies [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Steck S.E.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hussey J.R.
      • Hébert J.R.
      Designing and developing a literature-derived, population-based dietary inflammatory index.
      ]. The current DII database consists of world standard reference values for 45 food parameters derived from a comprehensive review and weighted algorithm scoring of nearly 2000 articles on diet and inflammatory markers and 11 food consumption data sets from different countries. Interestingly, there are efforts to incorporate a Dietary Inflammation Food Grade system on food packages, based on DII scores, which would display user-friendly traffic-light stickers. This approach has tremendous clinical applications and may be a feasible approach to aid with disease treatment.
      The use of DII to assess inflammation may also have some restrictions. Scores for the inflammatory potential of food items are derived from an extensive literature search up to December 2010 and based on global means, meaning publication bias and changes in global trends could affect the validity of the tool. However, one third of the findings included are null, demonstrating no bias towards significant results, and there are no anticipated major changes in estimates for global intake of food parameters [
      • Shivappa N.
      • Steck S.E.
      • Hurley T.G.
      • Hussey J.R.
      • Hébert J.R.
      Designing and developing a literature-derived, population-based dietary inflammatory index.
      ].
      The use of randomized control trials (RCTs) would counteract many of the limitations encountered in cohort-based studies and explore the clinical use of modulating the inflammatory potential of dietary patterns to improve depressive states [
      • Opie R.S.
      • Itsiopoulos C.
      • Parletta N.
      • Sanchez-Villegas A.
      • Akbaraly T.N.
      • Ruusunen A.
      • et al.
      Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression.
      ]. This was highlighted in the recent Supporting the Modification of lifestyle In Lowered Emotional States (SMILES) trial, the first RCT directly assessing the impact of a dietary intervention on mental health outcome [
      • Jacka F.N.
      • O'Neil A.
      • Opie R.
      • Itsiopoulos C.
      • Cotton S.
      • Mohebbi M.
      • et al.
      A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial).
      ]. Briefly, those placed in the personalised dietary support group demonstrated significant improvements in depressive symptoms, compared to those on social support, over a 12-week period [
      • Jacka F.N.
      • O'Neil A.
      • Opie R.
      • Itsiopoulos C.
      • Cotton S.
      • Mohebbi M.
      • et al.
      A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial).
      ]. However, this study failed to analyse the inflammatory potential of their dietary interventions. Thus, future RCTs should consider incorporating these measures, along with a varied dietary intervention group (e.g. pro-, anti- and moderate inflammatory diets).
      Lastly, reverse causation must be addressed as it is plausible that mental health status could determine food selection. Papier and colleagues examined the relationship between stress and food selection patterns and found students with mild to moderate stress were up to three times more likely to consume processed food and less likely to consume fruits and vegetables compared to unstressed students [
      • Papier K.
      • Ahmed F.
      • Lee P.
      • Wiseman J.
      Stress and dietary behaviour among first-year university students in Australia: sex differences.
      ]. This study demonstrates that adverse mental health can lead to the selection of pro-inflammatory dietary patterns (processed foods) and the avoidance of anti-inflammatory foods (fruits and vegetables) resulting in increased or decreased inflammatory status. Thus, the inter-relationship between an inflammatory diet and depression could lead to a vicious cycle where each may feedback to the other.
      Despite the strengths of the current analysis, there are certain limitations that should be noted. Firstly, the included studies contained a varied methodological approach, such as different inflammatory diet measurements and depression scales, which was reflected by the large heterogeneity between studies. Despite this, we utilised random effect models and subgroup analyses to limit and detect such sources of variability. Further, we chose to extract data based on categorical stratification of the inflammatory potential of diets, as opposed to continuous scores, as a means of comparing two extreme groups. Thus, this approach limits the ability to define a threshold when such pro-inflammatory effects are seen. Future work should investigate the levels at which the inflammatory potential of a diet may be detrimental to depression incidence, which would be clinically useful.
      The findings from this meta-analysis suggest that a pro-inflammatory diet is associated with the increased likelihood of depression diagnosis or depressive symptoms, which has major implications for the treatment of depression. Future medical and social advice should focus on increasing the awareness of lifestyle changes, such as diet, and their effects on depressive symptoms.
      In conclusion, how inflammation causes depression is a promising area of research which needs to be investigated further to help us understand accessible targets for new treatment strategies. However, whilst inflammation's role in depression is not yet fully understood, targeting the diet might provide a promising effective strategy for reducing depressive symptoms.

      Author contributions

      CM and SB designed the study. SB and KT performed the literature searches and data extraction. SB and CM performed the quality assessment. KT and SB performed statistical analyses. KT wrote the first draft of the manuscript, then all authors contributed to the final version of the manuscript.

      Conflict of interest

      The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.
      This study did not receive any specific funding.

      Acknowledgments

      None.

      Appendix A. Supplementary data

      The following are the Supplementary data to this article:

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