Background: Depression and obesity are widespread and closely linked. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and vitamin D are both assumed to be associated with depression and obesity. Little is known about the interplay between vitamin D and BDNF. We explored the putative associations and interactions between serum BDNF and vitamin D levels with depressive symptoms and abdominal obesity in a large population-based cohort. Methods: Data were obtained from the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP)-Trend (n = 3,926). The associations of serum BDNF and vitamin D levels with depressive symptoms (measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire) were assessed with binary and multinomial logistic regression models. The associations of serum BDNF and vitamin D levels with obesity (measured by the waist-to-hip ratio [WHR]) were assessed with binary logistic and linear regression models with restricted cubic splines. Results: Logistic regression models revealed inverse associations of vitamin D with depression (OR = 0.966; 95% CI 0.951–0.981) and obesity (OR = 0.976; 95% CI 0.967–0.985). No linear association of serum BDNF with depression or obesity was found. However, linear regression models revealed a U-shaped association of BDNF with WHR (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Vitamin D was inversely associated with depression and obesity. BDNF was associated with abdominal obesity, but not with depression. At the population level, our results support the relevant roles of vitamin D and BDNF in mental and physical health-related outcomes.

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