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Vitamin D and Depression Linked in a Recent Study

According to a recent study published by a joint venture of the University of Texas Southwest’s Medical Center and the Cooper Institute in Dallas, having low levels of vitamin D can be linked to depression.

What is Depression?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) or depression, as it is widely known, is a mental disorder where extreme feelings of sadness persist for months or even years. People that suffer from depression can’t seem to shake the feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair that they experience. They also tend to lose interest in the activities that they once enjoyed and withdraw from loved ones and friends.

Study Details

The study followed 12,600 adult men and women over a four year period. Participants were divided into groups based on whether they had a past history of depression or not. Their vitamin D levels were tested in addition to taking into consideration whether or not they were currently exhibiting symptoms of depression.

What They Found

Results of the study showed that, in participants that currently had low levels of vitamin D, they were more likely to display symptoms of depression, particularly if they had a history of depression. However, researchers were unable to conclude if the depression caused participants’ vitamin D levels to be low or if low levels of vitamin D lead to depression. At most, they concluded there was a link between the two, but were unsure what comes first.

Next Steps

Although researchers aren’t able to determine which comes first – low levels of Vitamin D or depression, they stopped short of recommending supplementation to raise the vitamin D levels of people who suffer from depression. More research is needed to determine if supplementation would actually be effective.

January 10th, 2012

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