Does Vitamin D Play a Role in Depression? A Review of Clinical, Epidemiological and Biological Studies
Goran Hogberg, Per Bech, Tore Hallstrom and Maria Petersson
Affiliation: BUP Huddinge, Paradistorg 4, 141 46 Huddinge, Sweden.
Keywords: Vitamin D, depression, observational studies, clinical trials.
There is a growing interest in the possible associations between vitamin D and depression. In this mini-review
we present diagnostic criteria of different depression scales, with special focus on somatic complaints, possible links between
depression and vitamin D and an overview of studies on vitamin D levels / vitamin D supplementation in depressed
patients. We observed that complaints of a somatic character, potentially linked to vitamin D deficiency, are important
parts of the diagnostic assessment in depression. Depressed patients often had low levels of vitamin D, and seven out of
nine large (n>1000) observational studies showed an association between vitamin D levels and depression. Five studies of
vitamin D supplementation in depressed patients with vitamin D deficiency showed significant reductions in depressive
symptoms post-supplementation. However, only two of these studies were randomized controlled trials, and one of them
had only 15 subjects. We recommend that depressed patients should generally be screened for vitamin D deficiency.
Aside an increased risk of impaired bone health, individual patients may have symptoms of depression related to potentially
deficient vitamin D levels. However, further randomized controlled studies of the effects of vitamin D supplementation
in depressed patients are needed.
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