Egg consumption reduces the risk of depressive symptoms in the elderly: findings from a 6-year cohort study
Background: Accumulating evidence showed that dietary habits might modify the risk of depression. This study aimed to evaluate the longitudinal association of egg consumption with depressive symptoms in the Chinese elderly.
Methods: We analyzed the data from Zhejiang Ageing and Health Cohort Study including 8289 participants. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scale (PHQ-9) was used to assess depressive symptoms at baseline and three waves of follow-up (2015, 2016, and 2019-2020). A PHQ-9 cut-off score ≥ 5 was used to define depressive symptoms. The participants with depressive symptoms at baseline were excluded. Egg consumption was evaluated through the diet habits section of the baseline questionnaire. Self-reported egg consumption was measured as the number of eggs per week and categorized into three categories. Log-binomial regression models with Generalized Estimating Equations were utilized to evaluate the association of egg consumption with depressive symptoms and estimate relative risks (RRs).
Results: The mean age of included participants was 68.6 years. After 6 years of follow-up, 1385 (16.7%) participants were indicated with depressive symptoms by PHQ-9 at least once. Compared with non-consumers or less-than-weekly consumers, participants consuming < 3 eggs/week and ≥ 3 eggs/week had 30% (RR = 0.70, 95%CI 0.62-0.80) and 38% (RR = 0.62, 95%CI 0.54-0.71) lower risks of depressive symptoms, respectively. A linear association was confirmed (P for trend < 0.01), and each egg increment per week was associated with a 4% lower risk of depressive symptoms (RR = 0.96, 95%CI 0.93-0.99). Sensitivity analyses yielded consistent results to the main analyses.
Conclusions: Egg consumption is prospectively related to a lower risk of depressive symptoms in the Chinese elderly. More prospective studies are needed to verify the association.
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