Sanchez-Villegas A, Verberne L, De Irala J, Ruiz-Canela M, Toledo E, Serra-Majem L, et al. Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project. PLoS ONE 2011 01/26;6(1):e16268.
Emerging evidence relates some nutritional factors to depression risk. However, there is a scarcity of longitudinal
assessments on this relationship.
Objective: To evaluate the association between fatty acid intake or the use of culinary fats and depression incidence in a
Material and Methods: Prospective cohort study (1999–2010) of 12,059 Spanish university graduates (mean age: 37.5 years)
initially free of depression with permanently open enrolment. At baseline, a 136-item validated food frequency
questionnaire was used to estimate the intake of fatty acids (saturated fatty acids (SFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA),
trans unsaturated fatty acids (TFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and culinary fats (olive oil, seed oils, butter and
margarine) During follow-up participants were classified as incident cases of depression if they reported a new clinical
diagnosis of depression by a physician and/or initiated the use of antidepressant drugs. Cox regression models were used to
calculate Hazard Ratios (HR) of incident depression and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) for successive quintiles of fats.
Results: During follow-up (median: 6.1 years), 657 new cases of depression were identified. Multivariable-adjusted HR (95%
CI) for depression incidence across successive quintiles of TFA intake were: 1 (ref), 1.08 (0.82–1.43), 1.17 (0.88–1.53), 1.28
(0.97–1.68), 1.42 (1.09–1.84) with a significant dose-response relationship (p for trend = 0.003). Results did not substantially
change after adjusting for potential lifestyle or dietary confounders, including adherence to a Mediterranean Dietary
Pattern. On the other hand, an inverse and significant dose-response relationship was obtained for MUFA (p for trend = 0.05)
and PUFA (p for trend = 0.03) intake.
Conclusions: A detrimental relationship was found between TFA intake and depression risk, whereas weak inverse
associations were found for MUFA, PUFA and olive oil. These findings suggest that cardiovascular disease and depression
may share some common nutritional determinants related to subtypes of fat intake.