Friday, January 09, 2009

Research shows vitamin D has natural anti-depressant action | Dr Briffa's Blog

Research shows vitamin D has natural anti-depressant action | Dr Briffa's Blog

One might ask that if vitamin D has the potential to combat SAD, might it help relieve other forms of depression or mood disorder? Some evidence which supports this comes from evidence which links low vitamin D status with mood disturbance [1,2]. This epidemiological evidence is interesting, I think, but it’s never going to be as powerful as assessments of vitamin D on mood via clinical research.

Just such a study was published recently in the Journal of Internal Medicine [3]. This study treated 441 overweight or obese individuals with either 20,000 international units (IU) or vitamin D per week, 40,000 IU per week, or placebo for a period of 1 year.

The researchers also, at the start of the study, assessed the relationship between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms. As expected, they found low vitamin D status was associated with more severe depressive symptoms.

The results of the intervention element of the study were more telling, in that they showed vitamin D therapy, compared to placebo, led to significant improvement in depressive symptoms during the course of the study. These results suggest that vitamin D deficiency has the ability to cause depression, and it adds weight to the argument that keeping vitamin D levels up may help to combat depression, particularly in the winter when vitamin D levels tend to be at their lowest.

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