ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The role of psychosocial stressors, carbohydrate and protein intake on serum serotonin and cortisol levels in patients with depression: a preliminary evaluation

Alifiati Fitrikasari, Natalia Dewi Wardani, Tanjung Ayu Sumekar , Fanti Saktini, Hang Gunawan Asikin, Mohamad Sulchan

Alifiati Fitrikasari
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Indonesia

Natalia Dewi Wardani
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Indonesia

Tanjung Ayu Sumekar
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Indonesia. Email: tanjung.sumekar@fk.undip.ac.id

Fanti Saktini
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Indonesia

Hang Gunawan Asikin
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Indonesia

Mohamad Sulchan
Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Indonesia
Online First: April 01, 2021 | Cite this Article
Fitrikasari, A., Wardani, N., Sumekar, T., Saktini, F., Asikin, H., Sulchan, M. 2021. The role of psychosocial stressors, carbohydrate and protein intake on serum serotonin and cortisol levels in patients with depression: a preliminary evaluation. Bali Medical Journal 10(1): 137-141. DOI:10.15562/bmj.v10i1.2315


Introduction: Depression is a mental disorder associated with biological, environmental and psychological factors. Depression is estimated to be a disease that requires the second largest expense on treatment. Chronic stress will reduce serotonin activity and storage and also stimulate the adrenal cortex to release cortisol and other glucocorticoid hormones. Nutritional intake such as carbohydrates and protein also plays a role in depression with various mechanisms. The study aims to investigate the role of psychosocial stressors, carbohydrate and protein intake on serum cortisol and serotonin levels in patients with depression

Methods: The study used an analytic observational approach with a cross sectional design. Subjects were selected by consecutive sampling and were asked to fill out the general characteristics questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) - II to determine depression levels, Holmes Rahe scale to measure psychosocial stressors, food frequency questionnaires to measure carbohydrate and protein intake. Subjects who met the inclusion criteria were taken blood samples to measure the cortisol and serotonin levels.

Result: Of the 79 subjects, 57 (72%) women and 22 (28%) men with an average age of 43 ± 3 years. A total of 64 (81%) subjects were with mild psychosocial stressors and 5 (6%) were severe. Psychosocial stressor were not significantly correlated with either serotonin (p=0.479), nor cortisol level (p=0.625) Carbohydrate were not significantly correlated with serotonin level (p=0.628) and cortisol level (p=0.252). Protein was not significantly correlated with serotonin level (p=0.688) and cortisol level (p=0.110).

Conclusion: There was no correlation between psychosocial stressors, carbohydrate and protein intake with serum cortisol and serotonin levels in depressed patients.

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