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.