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Depression Linked with Low Vitamin D Blood Levels?

Depression Linked with Low Vitamin D Blood Levels?

Depression Low Vitamin D Blood

Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but a prohormone that has hit the press recently with a vengeance! This study, released recently in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, states that about 13 percent of older individuals have symptoms of depression which may be related to poor vitamin D status.

A study conducted in the Netherlands on 1,282 individuals aged 65 – 95 assessed symptoms of depression, blood levels of vitamin D and blood levels of a related hormone called the parathyroid hormone. Vitamin D deficiency may cause an overactivity of the parathyroid glands which may play a role in the mechanism of the depression.

Of those 1,282 individuals, 26 had a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, 169 had minor depression and 1,087 were not depressed. On the average, blood vitamin D levels were 14 percent lower in individuals with major and minor depression. Parathyroid hormone was 5 percent higher in those with minor depression and 33 percent higher in those with major depression.

The researchers concluded that these findings may be important to patients because both low blood vitamin D levels and high parathyroid hormone levels can be treated with supplemental vitamin D or calcium and increased sunlight exposure. Furthermore, they stated, their study found that 38.8 percent of men and 56.9 percent of women in the community based cohort study group had insufficient levels of vitamin D – whether they had symptoms of depression or not. 

They further concluded that more research is needed to determine if the changes in vitamin D and parathyroid levels preceded the depression or followed it.