Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. It is believed to be the largest such investigation ever undertaken.
Low levels of vitamin D already are associated with a cavalcade of health woes from cardiovascular diseases to neurological ailments. This new study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression.
“Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels might be useful,” said E. Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre and study author.
Researchers examined the results of almost 12,600 participants from late 2006 to late 2010, the journal Mayo Clinic Proceeding reports.
Brown and colleagues found that higher vitamin D levels were tied with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression, according to a Texas statement.
Low vitamin D levels were tied with depressive symptoms, particularly those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is found in many dietary sources, such as fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil. The sun also contributes significantly to the daily production of vitamin D.