Previous blog posts have discussed nutrition strategies for depression.

A recent study looked at depression and protein intake in young student athletes.

What was this study?

97 adolescent elite athletes were recruited for the study. Symptoms of depression were recorded at baseline and again during a follow-up at 10 months (1)

A 3 day dietary intake log was obtained 3 months into the study(1)

What were the results?

Higher protein intake was associated with a reduction in symptoms of depression during the follow-up period (1).

What are some general protein intake guidelines?

This calculator can help get an estimate of protein intake,

However, according to the most recent dietary guidelines for Americans, almost 90 percent do not meet the recommendation for seafood and more than half do not meet the recommendation for nuts, seeds (2)

International Society of Sports Nutrition that the majority of exercising individuals should consume at minimum approximately 1.4 to 2.0 g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day to optimize exercise training induced adaptations. (3)

What are some caveats?

This is a small study showing association not causation.

Study authors call for larger and more in depth assessment and techniques.

Athletes and people who exercise regularly may require protein intake that is higher than the Dietary guidelines for Americans.

An optimized and personalized approach to nutrition can help with both physical and mental health (see resources below like nutrition coaching).

Any other resources to improve nutrition?

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  1. Markus Gerber, Sarah Jakowski, Michael Kellmann, Robyn Cody, Basil Gygax, Sebastian Ludyga, Caspar Muller, Sven Ramseyer, Johanna Beckmann. Macronutrient intake as a prospective predictor of depressive symptom severity: An exploratory study with adolescent elite athletes,Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Volume 66,2023,102387, ISSN 1469-0292, (

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Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU CCS Psychiatrist at 10:21amPosted in Nutrition depressionNutrition mental health Tagged protein depression, protein depression athletes

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