New research suggests that a deficit of the vitamin may be a source of unhappiness
People suffering from depression may need to increase their vitamin D intake, say a group of international scientists looking into treatment for the condition.
Vitamin D is found in the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils, among other foods. It is believed to regulate the central nervous system, which if disrupted is thought to cause depression.
Previous meta-analyses on the effects of vitamin D supplementation on depression have been inconclusive – but that could soon be a thing of the past.
New meta-analysis by a team of Finnish, Australian and US researchers looked at the association of vitamin D supplementation with depression. This was largest study of its kind so far, including results from 41 studies from around the world.
The studies investigated the efficacy of vitamin D in alleviating depressive symptoms in adults by randomised placebo-controlled trials in different populations. The studies included those carried out in patients with depression in the general population, and in people with various physical conditions.
The results of the meta-analysis show that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than a placebo in alleviating depressive symptoms in people with depression.
There were major differences in the vitamin D doses used, but typically the vitamin D supplement was 50–100 micrograms per day.
“Despite the broad scope of this meta-analysis, the certainty of evidence remains low due to the heterogeneity of the populations studied and due to the risk of bias associated with a large number of studies,” said Doctoral Researcher and lead author Tuomas Mikola of the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland.
“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,” Mikola concludes.