Kimchi intake and atopic dermatitis in Korean aged 19-49 years: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010-2012

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2017;26(5):914-922. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.022017.16.


Background and objectives: Many studies have reported that fermented foods have favorable effects in preventing and managing atopic dermatitis (AD). Although kimchi, a major fermented food, is an important part of the traditional diet in Korea, only a few studies have investigated the relationship between AD and kimchi. This study aimed to examine the association between the risk of AD and kimchi intake among Korean adults aged 19 to 49 years.

Methods and study design: We conducted a population-based, cross-sectional study among a total of 7,222 adults who participated in the 2010-2012 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. We defined AD based on responses to a health interview and assessed kimchi intake using a 24-hour recall method administered by well-trained interviewers.

Results: In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, we observed a significantly decreased odds ratio (OR) of having AD according to kimchi consumption after adjustment for confounding factors. In particular, subjects in the third quartile of kimchi consumption (85.0-158 g) had a 32% lower presence of AD than those in the first quartile of kimchi consumption (0-36.0 g) (Odds ratio: 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.50-0.92).

Conclusions: We found that consuming 85.0-158 g/day of kimchi was significantly associated with a lower presence of AD. Considering that one serving size of kimchi is 40 g, this corresponds to about 2-4 servings per day. This finding suggests that adequate amount of kimchi intake might have a protective effect against AD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fermented Foods*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Young Adult