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Vitamin D helps reduce depressive symptoms

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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A new study has examined the effect of vitamin D supplements on depression. Researchers found that vitamin D supplementation had a small to moderate effect on depressive symptoms in older adults. The results indicated that further research is needed to examine the effect of combining vitamin D with standard treatment for depression, medicalnewstoday.com wrote in its article.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 5% of elderly people in the world live with depression. Although there is no definitive cure for depression, symptoms can often be managed through psychotherapy and prescription antidepressants. Previous research has examined causal relationships between vitamin D, inflammation and depression.

For example, a 2013 study linked low vitamin D levels to depression. Another 2011 study suggested that vitamin D levels may help regulate inflammation, which is linked to depression. However, systematic reviews and meta-analyses examining the relationship between vitamin D levels and depression have mixed results.

But a new study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in reducing depressive symptoms, compared with a placebo.

The researchers found that vitamin D supplements equal to or greater than 2,000 individual units (IUs) per day may help reduce depressive symptoms, although they noted that their results were of “very low certainty.” The research was recently published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

For the purpose of the study, the researchers looked at the medical history of 53,235 people. They looked at data including age, vitamin D levels at baseline and after treatment, and reports of depressive symptoms.

As it turned out, the researchers found that vitamin D supplementation had a small to moderate effect on depressive symptoms. The effect size was slightly larger in people with baseline vitamin D levels below 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) — the cutoff for low vitamin D levels — than in those with vitamin D levels above that threshold at baseline. The researchers also noted that while doses up to 2,000 IU daily had a small to moderate effect, those taking more than 4,000 IU daily had a more significant effect. In addition, vitamin D intake appears to have a more significant effect when taken for less than 12 weeks, compared to longer periods.

The researchers also noted that vitamin D supplementation positively affected 1,116 people diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression. Vitamin D supplementation also had a positive effect on depressive symptoms among 407 people with perinatal depression.

Small but statistically significant positive effects were seen in patients who used antidepressants along with vitamin D supplementation. However, they found that placebo was slightly more beneficial than vitamin D supplementation in a subgroup of healthy people without a diagnosis of clinical depression.

When asked how vitamin D intake might be related to inflammation and depression, Dr. Monique Aucoin, ND, MSc, naturopathic physician and senior fellow at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, who was not involved in the study, says, “The exact mechanism The impact of vitamin D on the brain and mental health is not clear. There is evidence that vitamin D can modulate or balance parts of the immune system involved in inflammation.”

Dr. Aucoin adds that growing evidence suggests that mental disorders may be associated with increased inflammation in the body, and that reducing levels of inflammation may have therapeutic benefits.

Vitamin deficiency occurs in the absence of sunlight, malnutrition or post-COVID syndrome

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