Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Original Article
  • Published:

Nutrition Epidemiology Highlights Original Article

Coffee and depression in Korea: the fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

There is substantial interest in the health effects of coffee because it is the leading worldwide beverage after water. Existing literature on the connection between depression and coffee is scarce, and studies have yielded inconsistent results. The aim of this study was to examine the association between coffee consumption and depression in the Korean population.

Subjects/Methods:

We conducted a cross-sectional study in 10 177 Korean individuals aged 20–97 years who participated in the fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Consumption of coffee and depression were assessed using a questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for depression.

Results:

The lifetime prevalence of self-reported depression was 14.0% and that of self-reported clinical depression was 3.7%. After adjustment for potential confounders, the adjusted ORs for self-reported depression across coffee consumption categories were 1.00 (reference) for less than one cup/week, 0.84 (95% CI: 0.66, 1.07) for one to six cups/week, 0.63 (95% CI: 0.51, 0.79) for one cup/day, 0.69 (95% CI: 0.54, 0.88) for two cups/day and 0.58 (95% CI: 0.44, 0.76) for three or more cups/day (P for trend, <0.01). A similar association was observed for self-reported clinical depression, for which the multiple-adjusted ORs were 1.00 (reference) for less than one cup/week, 0.61 (95% CI: 0.40, 0.92) for one to six cups/week, 0.51 (95% CI: 0.34, 0.74) for one cup/day, 0.57 (95% CI: 0.39, 0.84) for two cups/day and 0.41 (95% CI: 0.24, 0.70) for three or more cups/day, respectively (P for trend, <0.01).

Conclusions:

These findings support a possible protective effect of coffee on the risk of depression.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Butt MS, Sultan MT . Coffee and its consumption: benefits and risks. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2011; 51: 363–373.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service Coffee: world markets and trade. United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service: Washington (DC), 2012.

  3. Korea Customs Service Coffee income trends. Daejeon: Korea customs service; 2013. Available at http://www.customs.go.kr (accessed on 26 July 2013).

  4. Higdon JV, Frei B . Coffee and health: a review of recent human research. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006; 46: 101–123.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Whiteford HA, Degenhardt L, Rehm J, Baxter AJ, Ferrari AJ, Erskine HE et al. Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 2013; 382: 1575–1586.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ferrari AJ, Charlson FJ, Norman RE, Patten SB, Freedman G, Murray CJ et al. Burden of depressive disorders by country, sex, age, and year: findings from the global burden of disease study 2010. PLoS Med 2013; 10: e1001547.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Murakami K, Sasaki S . Dietary intake and depressive symptoms: a systematic review of observational studies. Mol Nutr Food Res 2010; 54: 471–488.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Pham NM, Nanri A, Kurotani K, Kuwahara K, Kume A, Sato M et al. Green tea and coffee consumption is inversely associated with depressive symptoms in a Japanese working population. Public Health Nutr 2013; 4: 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Lucas M, Mirzaei F, Pan A, Okereke OI, Willett WC, O'Reilly ÉJ et al. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Arch Intern Med 2011; 171: 1571–1578.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ruusunen A, Lehto SM, Tolmunen T, Mursu J, Kaplan GA, Voutilainen S . Coffee, tea and caffeine intake and the risk of severe depression in middle-aged Finnish men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Public Health Nutr 2010; 13: 1215–1220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Niu K, Hozawa A, Kuriyama S, Ebihara S, Guo H, Nakaya N et al. Green tea consumption is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr 2009; 90: 1615–1622.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Hintikka J, Tolmunen T, Honkalampi K, Haatainen K, Koivumaa-Honkanen H, Tanskanen A et al. Daily tea drinking is associated with a low level of depressive symptoms in the Finnish general population. Eur J Epidemiol 2005; 20: 359–363.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Available at http://knhanes.cdc.go.kr (accessed on 22 April 2013).

  14. Fulkerson JA, Sherwood NE, Perry CL, Neumark-Sztainer D, Story M . Depressive symptoms and adolescent eating and health behaviors: a multifaceted view in a population-based sample. Prev Med 2004; 38: 865–875.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Sanchez-Villegas A, Henríquez P, Figueiras A, Ortuño F, Lahortiga F, Martínez-González MA . Long chain omega-3 fatty acids intake, fish consumption and mental disorders in the SUN cohort study. Eur J Nutr 2007; 46: 337–346.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Li Y, Dai Q, Ekperi LI, Dehal A, Zhang J . Fish consumption and severely depressed mood, findings from the first national nutrition follow-up study. Psychiatry Res 2011; 190: 103–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lucas M, Mirzaei F, O'Reilly EJ, Pan A, Willett WC, Kawachi I et al. Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and the risk of clinical depression in women: a 10-y prospective follow-up study. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 93: 1337–1343.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Logan AC . Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: a primer for the mental health professional. Lipids Health Dis 2004; 3: 25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Meyer BJ, Kolanu N, Griffiths DA, Grounds B, Howe PR, Kreis IA . Food groups and fatty acids associated with self-reported depression: an analysis from the Australian National Nutrition and Health Surveys. Nutrition 2013; 29: 1042–1047.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Kim YO, Kim MK, Lee SA, Yoon YM, Sasaki S . A study testing the usefulness of a dish-based food-frequency questionnaire developed for epidemiological studies in Korea. Br J Nutr 2009; 101: 1218–1227.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Kim JM, Kim SW, Stewart R, Kang HJ, Shin IS, Jung SW et al. Stressful events, stress perception and treatment outcomes in patients with depressive disorders: the CRESCEND study. J Affect Disord 2011; 133: 528–536.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Whitt MC, Irwin ML, Swartz AM, Strath SJ et al. Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000; 32: 498–504.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Klatsky AL, Armstrong MA, Friedman GD . Coffee, tea, and mortality. Ann Epidemiol 1993; 3: 375–381.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Kawachi I, Willett WC, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Speizer FE . A prospective study of coffee drinking and suicide in women. Arch Intern Med 1996; 156: 521–525.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Tanskanen A, Tuomilehto J, Viinamaki H, Vartiainen E, Lehtonen J, Puska P . Heavy coffee drinking and the risk of suicide. Eur J Epidemiol 2000; 16: 789–791.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Dórea JG, da Costa TH . Is coffee a functional food? Br J Nutr 2005; 93: 773–782.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Ferre' S . An update on the mechanisms of the psychostimulant effects of caffeine. J Neurochem 2008; 105: 1067–1079.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Morelli M, Carta AR, Kachroo A, Schwarzschild MA . Pathophysiological roles for purines: adenosine, caffeine and urate. Prog Brain Res 2010; 183: 183–208.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. dos Santos MD, Almeida MC, Lopes NP, de Souza GE . Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activities of the natural polyphenol chlorogenic acid. Biol Pharm Bull 2006; 29: 2236–2240.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Natella F, Nardini M, Giannetti I, Dattilo C, Scaccini C . Coffee drinking influences plasma antioxidant capacity in humans. J Agric Food Chem 2002; 50: 6211–6216.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. McNally L, Bhagwagar Z, Hannestad J . Inflammation, glutamate, and glia in depression: a literature review. CNS Spectr 2008; 13: 501–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Behr GA, Moreira JC, Frey BN . Preclinical and clinical evidence of antioxidant effects of antidepressant agents: implications for the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2012; 2012: 609421.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Bufalino C, Hepgul N, Aguglia E, Pariante CM . The role of immune genes in the association between depression and inflammation: A review of recent clinical studies. Brain Behav Immun 2013; 31: 31–47.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Park JH, Kim KW . A review of the epidemiology of depression in Korea. J Korean Med Assoc 2011; 54: 362–369.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for providing the data.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J D Moon.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Park, R., Moon, J. Coffee and depression in Korea: the fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 501–504 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.247

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.247

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links