Korean J Health Promot.  2020 Sep;20(3):125-134. 10.15384/kjhp.2020.20.3.125.

N-3 and N-6 Fatty Acid Intakes and Depressive Symptoms in Korean Female Adults Population Using Data from the 2014-2018 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • 1Department of Home Economics Education, Dongguk University-Seoul, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Traditional Temple Food Institute, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea


This study sought to investigate the association between n-3 and n-6 fatty acid intakes and depressive symptoms in Korean female adults.
Subjects comprised 8,204 Korean female adults, aged over 19 years, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2014-2018. Subjects were classified according to their Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores into a low depressive symptoms (LDS) group and a high depressive symptoms (HDS) group. Nutrient intake was evaluated using dietary data obtained through a one-day 24-hour recall.
Compared with the LDS group, the HDS group was associated with lower education levels, household incomes, and employment rates. The HDS group had lower intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids than the LDS group. The highest quartile of adjusted total n-3 intakes had a decreased odds ratio of depressive symptoms (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35-0.90) in those aged 65 years over. The prevalence of depressive symptoms decreased in the highest quartile of adjusted arachidonic acid intake (95% CI, 0.33-0.93) in those aged 41-64 years. The n-6:n-3 ratio was not associated with depressive symptoms.
From the results of this study, it was found that the intake of n-3 fatty acids and arachidonic acid were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. These findings can be used to aid the development of dietary guidelines for the improvement of public health.


Omega-3 fatty acids; Omega-6 fatty acids; Depression
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