Study explores effects of vitamin D on depression


A new meta-analysis found that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of depression in adults.

The meta-analysis results were published in the journal, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, and conducted by an international team of researchers. Previous research suggests that vitamin D regulates central nervous system functions associated with depression. In addition, studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiencies and depression, according to the paper. Before this review, past meta-analyses that studied whether vitamin D supplementation improved depressive symptoms were inconclusive, according to the authors.

For this meta-analysis, researchers observed 41 studies from around the world that investigated the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and symptoms of depression in adults through randomized placebo-controlled trials. Study participants ranged from patients with depression, the general population, and those diagnosed with various physical conditions. The most common dose of vitamin D used in the studies analyzed was 50 to100 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

Overall, the study found that vitamin D was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. However, researchers who worked on this project said that more evidence is needed to make any conclusions related to vitamin D and depression.

“Despite the broad scope of this meta-analysis, the certainty of evidence remains low due to the heterogeneity of the populations studied and the due to the risk of bias associated with a large number of studies,” said doctoral researcher and lead author Tuomas Mikola, PhD candidate at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland in a statement. “These findings will encourage new, high-level clinical trials in patients with depression in order to shed more light on the possible role of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of depression.”