Background & aims: Fatty acid composition in diet and serum has been linked to depression, but the evidence on this issue is limited among Japanese, who consume large amounts of fish rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. We examined the association between fatty acid composition in serum and depressive symptoms in Japanese men and women. Methods: The subjects were 496 participants aged 21-67 years in a cross-sectional study. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Free, cholesterol ester, and phospholipid fatty acids in serum were measured by gas-liquid chromatography. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the association between serum fatty acid and depressive symptoms. Results: A higher free alpha-linolenic acid level was marginally significantly associated with a decreased prevalence of depressive symptoms (CES-D≥16) (P for trend=0.07). When a cut-off of CES-D≥19 was used, the association was strengthened; the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of depressive symptoms for the lowest through highest tertile of alpha-linolenic acid levels were 1.00 (reference), 0.49 (0.29-0.84), and 0.47 (0.26-0.83), respectively (P for trend=0.007). A higher n-6 PUFA in cholesterol esters and free linoleic acid were also significantly associated with a decreased prevalence of depressive symptoms (CES-D≥19) (P for trend=0.03 and 0.048, respectively). The other polyunsaturated fatty acids including marine-derived n-3 PUFA were not associated with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Fatty acid composition with high levels of serum alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids might be protectively associated with depressive symptoms in Japanese adults.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics