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Vitamin D and depression (USA)

January 12, 2012

Psychiatrists from the UT Southwestern Medical Centre believe that low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression. Psychiatrists at the Centre have been looking at data in conjunction with researchers from the Cooper Centre Longitudinal Study. The study followed almost 12, 600 participants from 2006 until 2010 and is believed to be the largest investigation of its kind.

Study results showed that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a lower risk of depression; this was particularly true for people with a previous history of depression. Conversely, people with low levels of vitamin D in their system experienced depressive symptoms; again particularly evident in those with a depressive history.

Researchers caution that they did not determine if increased vitamin D levels will reduce symptoms of depression, so they are not recommending that people rush out and start taking supplements. They also advised that this study does not establish the mechanism relating vitamin D and depression. For example, this study does not answer the questions: does a lack of vitamin D cause depression, or does depression cause a drop in vitamin D levels?

However, investigators did comment that physicians with patients having a history of depression should consider screening them for vitamin D levels. Low levels of this vitamin could be considered a risk factor, just as it would be for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers and some neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and general cognitive decline.

To read the online article “Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Depression” in Science Daily, go to www.sciencedaily.com.

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