377 Physical & Mental Health

Research by Lever-van Milligen, Bianca. A., Vogelzangs, N., Smit, J. H., & Penninx, Brenda., W.J.H. (2014).Lever-van Milligen, Bianca. A., Vogelzangs, N., Smit, J. H., & Penninx, Brenda., W.J.H. (2014).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

People with high or low hemoglobin levels have more physical diseases and higher mortality.

Netherland researchers inquired whether these physical indicators (hemoglobin extremes, anemia) are associated with mental health diagnoses of anxiety or depression.

They recruited 2,900 participants from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. They drew blood from each to get hemoglobin levels. Via diagnostic interviews, they diagnosed either no, remitted or current depression or anxiety diagnosis. They assessed severity and duration of symptoms, the age of onset, and their antidepressant use. They collected sociodemographic information: age, sex, education, disease indicators, and lifestyle behaviors.

Results? Those with anxiety and depression had high hemoglobin levels. However, after controlling for sociodemographic variables and lifestyle, there were no significant differences in hemoglobin levels between those with anxiety or depression and those without. Thus, other factors account for altered hemoglobin levels than anxiety or depression in themselves.

Having depression and anxiety does impact our lives, so these are important to treat. In addition, our lifestyle behavior may exacerbate anxiety and depression—Let’s eat healthy, exercise, and prevent the harmful effects of alcohol, drugs, and smoking!


Lever-van Milligen, B. A., Vogelzangs, N., Smit, J. H., & Penninx, B., W.J.H. (2014). Hemoglobin levels in persons with depressive and / or anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 76, 317 – 321.

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