Studies Show a Strong Correlation Between Low Levels of Vitamin D and Depression
We posted an article about the possible link between vitamin D levels in pregnant women and schizophrenia. Either a plethora or deficiency of vitamin D seemed to correlate to the child developing schizophrenia later in life. Now another study shows a connection between vitamin D and mental health; this study suggests a link between depression and low levels of vitamin D. This correlation was stronger in those with prior histories of depression. Researchers suggest that vitamin D levels might be better for preventing relapses rather than being used as a bio-marker. Researchers are still not sure if this relationship is causal or coincidental; yet the study is still quite useful. The psychiatric community has been searching for bio-markers and blood tests for early detection of mental illness for years. Additionally researchers may have found a blood test to detect a predisposition for depression; however, this tests doesn’t reveal any more than a psychiatric evaluation, which is much less expensive. Most people can know if they have a predisposition to depression or anxiety by understanding their family histories and taking measures in their lifestyles to avoid the stress or triggers that bring about an episode. Vitamins and exercise are very important to mental hygiene and overall good health, and this correlation of low levels of vitamin D and depression may prove to be quite telling in the near future.
These Studies of Vitamin D Deficiency May Lead to Prevention and Better Treatments
Many of these studies ultimately lead to better treatments and developing ways of preventing mental illness so they are quite prolific. This study between low levels of vitamin D and depression involved 12,500 patients of which 12% had experienced depression in the past. Low vitamin D levels were common among the entire group and about half of those in the group were considered deficient in vitamin D. The levels of vitamin D did not differ significantly between the participants with a history of depression and those without any prior episodes. Those with higher levels of vitamin D seemed to have a decreased risk for depression, albeit this doesn’t seem to be the case with the elderly. The correlation between those deficient in vitamin D and depression is much stronger than those who are not deficient.
Some of the conclusions of the study were that vitamin D is important for the brain and might be involved in the development of depression. A One year study in Norway concluded that vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with depression but again, there aren’t enough studies to warrant this finding as conclusive. These studies at the very least should shed some light on the need for vitamin D and its importance. Many studies have come out which seem to show that very large percentage of the population has low levels of vitamin D. Studies with vitamin D and depression vary in dosage from 10,000 IU per week to 50,000 IU per week. Vitamin D levels need to be checked through a blood test before beginning therapy.
Subsequent to this article, a study in 2012 posted in the British Journal of Medicine 2012 makes the claim that vitamin D deficiency can play a role in depression (there is a Vitamin D receptor in the region of the brain responsible for depression); however, vitamin D supplements above deficient levels have no effect in treating depression. Hence treating severe vitamin D deficiency may reduce the symptoms of depression; however, treating depression with vitamin D if there is no deficiency will not remit the symptoms. Read the full article on Low levels of vitamin D and depression.