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Low vitamin D levels may increase risk of depression

Published on

08 February 2013

According to a new study from the United Kingdom, people with higher concentrations of vitamin D in their blood may have a lower risk of developing depression.

The observational study looked at blood levels of vitamin D and mental problems such as depression, anxiety, panic, and phobia in 7,401 45-year-old participants (1). Study results showed that participants with vitamin D levels of at least 75 nmol / L had a 43% lower risk of depression compared to people with vitamin D levels below 25 nmol / L. Furthermore, high levels of vitamin D were associated with a 67% lower risk of panic, compared to those with lower levels.

The researchers commented that the burden of mental and behavioral disorders as well as the simultaneous prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (below 75 nmol / L) worldwide would highlight the importance of these findings. Other studies would be needed to support these findings, clarify their cause, and establish the most effective vitamin D levels for maximum benefit. Results from previous studies that have investigated a possible link between vitamin D levels and symptoms of depression are inconsistent. According to a review of studies, vitamin D could affect brain proteins, which are directly involved in learning and memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior (2).

REFERENCES

  1. Maddock J. et al. Vitamin D and common mental disorders in mid-life: cross-sectional and prospective findings. Clinical Nutrition. Published online January 2013.
  2. McCann J. C. and Ames B. N. Is there convincing biological or behavioral evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction? FASEB Journal. 2008; 22(4):982–1001.

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