Higher Vitamin D Levels Correlated With Less Depression

Reprinted with permission of Life Extension 

The November, 2011 edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings published the results of a cross-sectional study conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute which uncovered a protective effect for high serum vitamin D levels against depression. The study, which included 12,594 men and women, is the largest of its kind to date.

University of Texas professor of psychiatry E. Sherwood Brown and his associates analyzed data from participants in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, which enrolled patients from the Cooper Clinic from November, 2006, to October, 2010. Subjects were categorized as depressed in accordance with Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale scores, and serum samples were analyzed for 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

Dr Brown’s team found a significant association between higher vitamin D levels and a decreased risk of depressive symptoms, especially among those with a history of the condition. For those without a history of depression, having a higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was associated with a 5 percent lower risk of the condition compared to having a low level, while among those with a history of depression, the risk for those with a high level was 10 percent lower.

Vitamin D’s impact on neurotransmitters, markers of inflammation and other factors could be behind its ability to reduce depression according to Dr Brown, who is the head of UT Southwestern’s psychoneuroendocrine research program. “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,” he concluded.

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