Vitamin D supplementation may help reduce depressive symptoms, study finds


A new study has investigated the effects of vitamin D supplementation on depression. The researchers found that vitamin D supplements have a small to moderate effect on depressive symptoms in adults.

The findings indicate that further research is needed to investigate the effects of combining vitamin D with standard treatments for depression.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, around 5% of adults around the world live with depression.

While there is no available cure for depression, symptoms are often manageable through treatments including psychotherapy and prescription antidepressants.

Prior research has explored the causal relationships between vitamin D, inflammation, and depression. For instance, a 2013 study linked low levels of vitamin D to depression. Another study from 2011Trusted Source suggested that vitamin D levels may help regulate inflammation, which is linked to depression.

Until now, however, systematic reviews and meta-analysesTrusted Source investigating the link between vitamin D levels and depression have delivered mixed resultsTrusted Source.

But a new study has systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed randomized controlled trials (RCT) that examined the efficacy of vitamin D supplements in reducing depressive symptoms compared to a placebo.

The researchers found that vitamin D supplementation equal to or exceeding 2,000 individual units (IUs) per day may help reduce depressive symptoms, although they noted their results have “very low certainty.”

The study was recently published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

The impact of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms For the study, the researchers examined 41 RCTs including 53, 235 people in their analysis. They looked at data including age, vitamin D levels at baseline and post-treatment, and data on depressive symptoms.

They also included details of vitamin D supplementation, including:duration dose type frequency possible calcium supplementation or add-on medications Overall, the researchers found that vitamin D supplementation had a small to moderate effect on depressive symptoms.

Effect sizes were slightly larger among people with baseline vitamin D levels below 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) — the borderline for low vitamin D levels — than those with vitamin D levels above this threshold at baseline.

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