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Do Vitamin D Supplements Help With Depression

Vitamins Supplements & Herbs For Depression

Ask Dr. Doreen: Do You Believe that Vitamin D can Help Depression?

There is quite an array of vitamins, supplements, and herbs one can try to help with depression symptoms. As with all alternative medicine and home remedies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require testing for safety or efficacy of any of these possible depression treatments. While they are manufactured according to food-grade safety standards, some research has found that the active ingredient levels in supplements may vary. Always purchase your supplements and vitamins from legitimate sources, and try to stick to recognizable or well-reviewed brands.

Impact Of Other Factors On Vitamin D Status

Individuals obtain vitamin D either exogenously, from dietary sources, or endogenously, from activation of a subcutaneous vitamin D precursor by ultraviolet rays . Dietary sources can be obtained through naturally-occurring vitamin D in foods, fortification of foods with vitamin D, and a vitamin D supplement. As vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, metabolism requires normal digestion and absorption of fat. Subcutaneous synthesis is stimulated by exposure to sunlight though this effect varies based on the amount and duration of exposure, latitude, season, and race .

Optimal vitamin D status is hampered by several factors. The limited number of naturally rich foods with this nutrient causes some groups to be at risk for inadequacy . The optimal daily requirement for various age groups is under scientific debate . The current Adequate Intake , which is part of the Dietary Reference Intakes , is 200 IU/day for both women and men from infancy to age 50 400 IU/day for those between 5170 years and 600 IU/day for those > 70 years . Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended increasing the daily intake of vitamin D to 400 IU/day for all infants, children, and adolescents .

People With Lower Blood Levels Of Vitamin D Are More Depressed

In 2008 a study conducted in Norway determined that individuals with low levels of vitamin D in the blood were more depressed. This same study found that when taking large amounts of vitamin D, the depression improved. The most profound impact in symptom recovery occurred amongst individuals with more severe symptoms. Unfortunately this study only examined individuals that were considered overweight and obese so the study didnt look at a random population. Therefore the results cannot be generalized.

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Assessment Of Quality Of Evidence Across Studies

The quality of evidence obtained from the included trials was graded as low, because of consistently unexplained heterogeneity and the risk of selective outcome reporting bias . The Q tests and I2 statistics for assessment of heterogeneity among studies were statistically significant, as found for the overall effect of Vit D supplementation and the subgroup and sensitivity analyses when random-effects models were used. Meanwhile, there was unclear risk of selective outcome reporting bias in two trials and clear risk of bias in one RCT .

People With Depression May Spend Less Time Outside

Increase your vitamin D for depression

Some of the symptoms of clinical depression, such as social withdrawal and eating difficulties, may play a role in vitamin D deficiency. When people socially withdraw, theyre not as likely to spend as much time in public, which means they may not get the sun exposure they need to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.

People with severe depression may have trouble even getting out of bed and those with milder forms of the illness may go from home to work and back again but rarely take part in outdoor activities.

Since social isolation can worsen depression symptoms, healthcare professionals advise people with the condition to spend time with others. In the process, they’re likely to get more sunlight and raise their vitamin D levels.

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Should We Stop Doing Trials With Vitamin D

The evidence for supplementation with vitamin D is unconvincing for the prevention of most medical conditions. However, given the low cost, and relative lack of side effects, vitamin D supplementation at modest doses is safe and has not been shown to be harmful. This large randomized controlled trial provides compelling evidence that vitamin D supplementation has no effect on the risk of depression or its recurrence in adults aged 50 or older. There is no longer an argument to be made that more research is needed. This study is probably enough.

Healthy People Wont Reduce Their Fracture Risk By Taking Calcium And Vitamin D Supplements Sarah Leyland

We know that healthy people living in the community wont reduce their fracture risk by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, Leyland says. However, people who may not be getting enough such as those who are housebound or live in sheltered accommodation can benefit from these supplements.

Still, researchers havent found clear evidence of that, either. One meta-analysis examining the prevention of fractures in community, nursing home and hospital inpatient populations concluded that vitamin D alone is unlikely to prevent fractures in the doses and formulations tested so far in older people. And some evidence suggests that high doses can actually result in an increased number of fractures and falls. One randomised study found that high-dose monthly vitamin D supplements increased the risk of falls among the elderly population by 20-30% compared to those on a lower dose.

D for disease

There is also conflicting research on the relationship between vitamin D and other diseases, even ageing.

One main claim is that vitamin D supplements will boost the immune system. Adrian Martineau, professor of respiratory infection and immunity at The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, who leads a research group on the effects of vitamin D on health, has found that vitamin D plays a role in improving respiratory infections.

One study found that vitamin D helps decrease the risk of respiratory infections though only slightly

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Efficacy Of Vit D Supplementation In Depression

The point estimate of efficacy for each RCT and the total meta-analysis result for the Vit D group vs placebo are shown in A. There was no significant effect of Vit D supplementation on depression, with the SMD of 0.14 . The heterogeneity among studies was substantial .

Forest plot of the postintervention SMD of depression scores and the OR of depression for Vit D supplementation vs placebo. The size of the data markers for the SMD/OR corresponds to the weight of the study in the meta-analysis the horizontal lines correspond to the 95% CI values.

Data on the proportion of patients with symptomatic improvement were not available in the included studies. However, there were two trials reporting the effect of Vit D supplementation on depression with the use of dichotomized depression scores . Vit D supplementation had no effect on depression in any trial . There was no overall effect of Vit D supplementation on depression based on the meta-analysis of the two trials using a fixed-effects model .

When the Bayesian approach was applied using a noninformative prior distribution , the SMD was 0.15 , with the posterior probability of favoring Vit D supplementation of 0.81 . These findings were similar to classical analysis results .

With the use of skeptical prior distribution, the SMD was 0.11 , and the posterior probability of favoring Vit D supplementation was 0.79 .

Does Vitamin D Help With Sad

Vitamin D deficiency and depression | What you NEED to know (symptoms, testing and dose)

Medical professionals often prescribe vitamin D to help with seasonal affective disorder . Studies show that it might be as effective as light therapy. Since the 1980s, light therapy is one of the main forms of treatment for this type of depression. People with SAD typically have a vitamin D deficiency.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health , seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that people get during certain seasons. They tend to get depressed during the fall from the winter months when there is less sunlight, but it can happen during spring and summer as well. This rarer kind of SAD is summer-pattern SAD or summer depression.

Other forms of treatment for SAD include:

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Can Vitamin D3 Cause Severe Depression

1 Sep 2010 by shylog1
vitamin d3, vitamins, depression

I took vitamin D3 for 2 weeks, but after just a few days, I started to experience depression and by the end of the two weeks, I was having suicidal thoughts – I took 1000 units per day with a meal – also, the metallic taste was unbearable – other meds I take daily are Hydrochlorothiazide – 25mg, regular aspirin, and atenolol 25mg – I stopped taking Vit. D3 on Aug. 28 – in a few days my metallic taste was gone and my depression disappeared.

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Hi shylog1 , I’ve been taking 4000 units of D3 or 3000 units of D2 for 6 months and other than Hydro., I take the same drugs you do. No bad taste, no depression , but as they say, everybody’s different. I’d check with a Dr. though, the taste sounds wierd. Sacosam


I am responding to this question because I had a similar experience with vitamin D3. Since I was seriously low in Vitamin D according to my lab/blood work, I started taking 1,000 IU vitamin D3. Both times I became seriously depressed after taking this supplement, where I could not even function and would break down crying for no reason… Once off this supplement, I eventually went back to being my normal happy self.


If You Take Any Group Of Patients With Almost Any Disease Their Vitamin D Levels Will Be Lower Than In A Healthy Individual Ian Reid

Ian Reid, professor in medicine at the University of Auckland, believes that diseases cause low vitamin D levels, as being unwell often leads to spending less time outdoors exposed to sunlight, rather than vice versa. If you take any group of patients with almost any disease, their vitamin D levels will be lower than in a healthy individual. This has led some to hypothesise its low vitamin D developing the disease, but theres no evidence to prove it, he says.

Some experts believe people who are unwell have low vitamin D levels because they spend less time outdoors, not that their low levels cause health problems

Researchers have found that higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer it plays a role in stemming the formation of new blood vessels and stimulating better communication between cells. Vitamin D also has been found to help maintain normal levels of calcium in the colon, which slows growth of non-cancerous but high-risk cells.

Other studies, including of the link between vitamin D and liver cancer,breast cancer and prostate cancer, suggest there is good reason to think that low vitamin D plays a part in the spread of cancer cells. But taking supplements would then, surely, help stave off cancer and a recent meta-analysis failed to find that supplementation reduced cancer risk.

D for depression

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Vitamin D And Depression

Depression is a medical condition that changes the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors of an individual. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in activities the individual previously liked
  • Isolation and withdrawal

What Research Shows

Studies on vitamin D supplementation and depression show a relationship between the two.

The only limitation of the studies is that they donât prove that vitamin D deficiency causes depression. People with depression may have lower vitamin D levels, but the deficiency did not cause the illness.

How Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Depression

If the cause of depression was a lack of the vitamin, then supplementation would help reduce the signs and symptoms. An increase in the levels of the vitamin would also prevent depression from occurring, but this is not the case.

There is another possible explanation of the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Many groups at a high risk of depression are also likely to have vitamin D deficiency.

Adolescents, people with obesity, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are the most prone to having vitamin D deficiency. They are also at a higher risk of depression.

Possible Causes for This Correlation

As noted above, some symptoms of clinical depression include withdrawal and social isolation. Since these individuals spend less time outside, they lack the much-needed exposure to process enough vitamin D.

Depressed Some Relief May Be As Close As Your Nearest Vitamin D Supplement

How does Vitamin D Deficiency cause Depression and ...

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a steroid hormone precursor. It was originally thought to play a role only in the mineralization of bones and teeth by maintaining the correct phosphorous/calcium ratio. But over time research has linked low vitamin D levels with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.

According to the CDC, in 2006 a whopping one-fourth of the population was deficient in vitamin D. Eight percent were “at risk” for vitamin D deficiency illnesses and one percent had levels that were considered imminently harmful. According to Natural News, vitamin D is “perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition.”

Whats causing these low vitamin D levels? One theory is that we are not outside as much as prior generations, and when we are, we slather on the sunscreen that prohibits UVB from penetrating the skin. These same UVB rays naturally produce vitamin D.

The time of day, the season, the altitude, the latitude, and other factors come into play to determine how much UVB reaches the skin. Vitamin D levels can become depleted without enough sunshine, and this is especially true during the winter months when we stay inside more and the sun is not as intense.

Here are a few important things to note:

If you have dark skin, you’ll need about 25 times more exposure time as a light-skinned individual to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

Also Check: How Long Does It Take To Restore Vitamin D Levels

How Often Do You Need To Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked

Doctors do not usually order routine checks of vitamin D levels, but they might need to check your levels if you have certain medical conditions or risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes vitamin D levels can be checked as a cause of symptoms such as long-lasting body aches, a history of falls or bone fractures without significant trauma.

Assessment And Groups At Risk For Low Vitamin D

The signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency vary depending on the age and severity. For children, there has been a reappearance of rickets from vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms of rickets can vary and may include bone pain, delayed tooth eruption, and poor growth . Deficient adults may experience muscle weakness, bone pain, difficulty walking, and frequent falls . Persons more at risk for vitamin D include those with malabsorption syndromes such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and chronic diarrhea .

Other factors may influence the availability and metabolism of this nutrient. Thus, various population groups have been identified as high risk for vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. Those with limited sun exposure, due to being homebound, living in latitudes > 34° north or south, and/or clothing that covers most of the body, are at risk for vitamin D deficiency . Similarly, older adults are often at risk of vitamin D inadequacy. This is due to reduced subcutaneous production and intestinal absorption . When coupled with limited sun exposure, which is the case for many older adults, the risk increases .

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What Does The Evidence Say

Two reviews of observational studies and intervention trials reached the same conclusions: When parsing the observational data, both reviews found a correlation between depression and low levels of vitamin D . When parsing the trial data, both reviews found benefit from supplementation but also low methodological quality and high risk of bias.

Those two reviews were published in 2017 and 2016, so shortly after a 2015 meta-analysis of RCTs reported finding no significant reduction in depression after vitamin D supplementation. Its authors, however, mentioned that most of the studies focused on individuals with low levels of depression and sufficient serum vitamin D at baseline. In other words, they didnt rule out the possibility that in people with higher levels of depression or lower levels of vitamin D, supplementation might be more effective.

This hypothesis lines up with the conclusions of a 2014 meta-analysis, which found that, if one considered only the studies whose subjects had low levels of vitamin D at baseline and were then given enough vitamin D to achieve sufficiency over the course of the trial, then supplemental vitamin D was about as effective as antidepressant medication. However, this meta-analysis did not account for publication bias.

Can Medications Cause A Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency | I Thought I was Depressed

Yes. Vitamin D levels can be lowered by certain medications. These include:

Always tell your doctor about the drugs you take and any vitamin D supplements or other supplements or herbs/alternative health products that you take.

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Effects Of Vitamin D Supplementation On Mental And Physical Well Being

The use of vitamin D supplementation has been examined for its effects on mood outcomes, particularly in healthy persons. In one study , 250 healthy women were randomized to daily vitamin D or a placebo for a period of one year. Both groups received supplemental calcium during the trial. Findings indicated no difference in mood scores between the two groups. In addition, changes in vitamin D levels were not correlated to changes in mood scores. Results suggested that the dose of vitamin D may have been insufficient to cause a significant treatment difference between groups. randomly assigned 44 healthy persons to varying doses of vitamin A plus one of the following: 400 IU of vitamin D/day or 800 IU of vitamin D/day, or a placebo for a period of five days. The Positive and Negative Affect Scale was used to assess mood at the end of the five days. Results showed enhanced positive affect for the vitamin D treatment groups when compared to the placebo group . In addition, although both vitamin D treatment groups experienced a reduction in negative affect when compared to the placebo group, it was not statistically significant. Although the study demonstrated positive benefits in persons who were healthy, the effect on persons with depression or mood problems was not explored.


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