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


Journal article


The Journal of nutrition

Publication Date





1731 - 1739


Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain; Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom;