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Vitamin D may prevent depressive symptoms

January 16, 2012

According to a new US study, higher vitamin D levels are linked with a significantly decreased risk of depression, especially among those with a history of depression.

In this observational study, serum vitamin D concentrations and depressive symptoms were assessed in 12,594 healthy adults (1). Study results showed that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of depression. The findings were stronger in those participants with a history of depression.

The researchers concluded that low vitamin D levels may be associated with depressive symptoms, especially in persons with a history of depression. These findings would suggest that primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for vitamin D level assessments. The study did not address whether increasing vitamin D levels reduced depressive symptoms. Thus, it is neither clear whether low vitamin D levels contribute to symptoms of depression, nor whether depression itself contributes to lower vitamin D levels. However, vitamin D may affect neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers, and other factors, which could help explain the relationship with depression, the scientists commented.

References

  1. Hoang M. T. et al. Association between low serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and depression in a large sample of healthy adults: The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2011; 86(11):1050–1055.