Intake of High-Fat Yogurt, but Not of Low-Fat Yogurt or Prebiotics, Is Related to Lower Risk of Depression in Women of the SUN Cohort Study1–3

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Abstract

Background:

Yogurt and prebiotic consumption has been linked to better health. However, to our knowledge, no longitudinal study has assessed the association of yogurt and prebiotic consumption with depression risk.

Objective:

We longitudinally evaluated the association of yogurt and prebiotic consumption with depression risk in a Mediterranean cohort.

Methods:

The SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project is a dynamic, prospective cohort of Spanish university graduates. A total of 14,539 men and women (mean age: 37 y) initially free of depression were assessed during a median follow-up period of 9.3 y. Validated food-frequency questionnaires at baseline and after a 10-y follow-up were used to assess prebiotic (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharide) intake and yogurt consumption (<0.5, ≥0.5 to <3, ≥3 to <7, and ≥7 servings/wk). Participants were classified as incident cases of depression when they reported a new clinical diagnosis of depression by a physician (previously validated). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate HRs and 95% CIs.

Results:

We identified 727 incident cases of depression during follow-up. Whole-fat yogurt intake was associated with reduced depression risk: HR for the highest [≥7 servings/wk (1 serving = 125 g)] compared with the lowest (<0.5 servings/wk) consumption: 0.78 (95% CI: 0.63, 0.98; P-trend = 0.020). When stratified by sex, this association was significant only in women (HR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.50, 0.87; P-trend = 0.004). Low-fat yogurt consumption was associated with a higher incidence of depression (HR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.65; P-trend = 0.001), although this association lost significance after the exclusion of early incident cases, suggesting possible reverse causation bias. Prebiotic consumption was not significantly associated with depression risk.

Conclusions:

Our study suggests that high consumption of whole-fat yogurt was related to a lower risk of depression in women of the SUN cohort. No association was observed for prebiotics. Further studies are needed to clarify why the yogurt-depression association may differ by fat content of the yogurt.

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