Saturday, May 25, 2024

Vitamin D Deficiency And Depression In Adults

What Is Vitamin D

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

Also known as calciferol, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that the body stores it in the liver and in fatty tissue.

While some foods, such as salmon, mushrooms, and egg yolks, naturally have vitamin D, other foods are fortified with the substance.

Vitamin D can also be taken as a dietary supplement and the body synthesizes the vitamin when the skin is exposed to the suns ultraviolet rays.

Vitamin D has several benefits, as it can help to prevent conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, and, along with calcium, it can prevent the elderly from developing osteoporosis.

It has also been linked to lower inflammation and the bodys regulation of immune function and glucose metabolism.

Some studies, with mixed results, have found that vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of individuals developing various forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Similarly, the link between vitamin D and depression also remains unclear.

Can Vitamin D Affect Mood

Yes, vitamin D does appear to play a slight role in mood regulation, although the jury is still out regarding its effect on depression.

One study found that vitamin D supplements could improve anxiety but did not find that they affected depression (

10 ).

However, its important to get your vitamin D levels checked before you begin taking high dose vitamin D supplements. You should also work closely with a healthcare professional to determine the right dosage for you.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it can build up in your fat cells. For this reason, taking high doses over time may lead to vitamin D toxicity, which can cause high calcium levels, kidney stones, digestive problems, and neurological changes .

Course Of Depressive Disorders

Course was determined using two different outcome measures: the presence of a DSM-IV depressive diagnosis at 2-year follow-up was ascertained through a CIDI interview at 2-year follow-up duration of depressive symptoms as calculated with the Life Chart Interview assessing presence and severity of symptoms at each month during the 2-year follow-up. Duration of symptoms was calculated as the percentage of time during follow-up with symptoms of at least mild severity. Two indicators were constructed: a continuous score ranging from 0 to 100% and a dichotomous indicator assessing whether persons had depressive symptoms for > 75% of the follow-up period.

Read Also: How Can I Treat My Depression

Clinical Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Depression In Older Adults

Megan Brooks

Milder states of vitamin D deficiency were not strongly associated with depression in older adults, Robert Stewart, MD, of King’s College London, and Vasant Hirani, MSc, of University College London, United Kingdom, report in the September issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

“Although vitamin D deficiency has been investigated in relationship to mental disorders in younger adults, relatively little research has investigated this association in older people, despite the higher potential impact,” the study authors write.

They analyzed data on 2070 adults 65 years and older who participated in the 2005 Health Survey for England. As part of the survey, information on health and health behaviors and sociodemographic data were collected, 25D levels were measured, and depressive symptoms scored using the Geriatric Depression Scale.

The directly measured vitamin D levels, the use of a widely used scale for depression in older adults, and the large nationally representative sample are key advantages of the study, the study authors say.

Independent Risk Factor

Overall, about one-quarter of the cohort had depressive symptoms, they report. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 22.6% in the 85.4% of adults with 25D levels less than 30 ng/mL and 25.8% in the 51.4% of adults with 25D levels less than 20 ng/mL.

The prevalence of depression was highest in the 9.8% of the cohort with 25D levels less than 10 ng/mL .

Clinical Trial Warranted

Psychosom Med. 2010 72:608-612.

What Does Sunlight Have To Do With Getting Enough Vitamin D

Health &  Wellbeing: Toronto Naturopath on Vitamins, &  More

There are health benefits of sunlight. Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunshine, or rather, the ultraviolet B radiation that the sun emits. The amount of vitamin D that your skin makes depends on such factors as:

  • The season: This factor depends a bit on where you live. In areas such as Cleveland, OH, the UV-B light does not reach the earth for six months out of the year due to the ozone layer and the zenith of the sun.
  • The time of day: The sun’s rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • The amount of cloud cover and air pollution.
  • Where you live: Cities near the equator have higher ultraviolet light levels. It is the UV-B light in sunlight that causes your skin to make vitamin D.
  • The melanin content of your skin: Melanin is a brown-black pigment in the eyes, hair and skin. Melanin causes skin to tan. The darker your skin, the more sun exposure is needed in order to get sufficient vitamin D from the sun.

Recommended Reading: Does Working Out Help With Depression And Anxiety

How Is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated

The goals of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. While you might consider eating more foods that contain vitamin D and getting a little bit of sunlight, you will likely be told to take vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. D2, also called ergocalciferol, comes from plants. D3, also called cholecalciferol, comes from animals. You need a prescription to get D2. D3, however, is available over the counter. It is more easily absorbed than D2 and lasts longer in the body dose-for-dose. Work with your doctor to find out if you need to take a vitamin supplement and how much to take if it is needed.

The Link Between Vitamin D Levels And Depression

The relationship between depression and vitamin D is likely a two-way street, Pathuk says. “People who have depression are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency because they stay indoors, don’t exercise too much, and are likely not eating a healthy diet.”

There are also vitamin D receptors in areas of the brain that help regulate behavior and emotion, she says.

“It is not unusual for people with depression to be deficient in vitamin D and treating the deficiency may make a huge difference in how they feel,” Pathuk says.

If you are being treated for depression, ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels. “If you are deficient, get treated,” she says.

“People often feel better when they take vitamin D,” says Michael Holick, MD, PhD. He is the director of the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Lab at Boston University. “One of the effects that vitamin D has on the brain is to improve serotonin levels — which is the same chemical that many antidepressants act on.”

“This is an interesting study,” says Erin LeBlanc, MD. She is an endocrinologist and researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland. “It does show that vitamin D and its effects on things besides bone should be studied more.”

The next step would be a trial where some people with depression get vitamin D and others get an inactive placebo, she says.

Show Sources

Recommended Reading: Difference Between Crippling Depression And Depression

Is Depression Actually A Unique State Of Consciousness

A personal note here is that a local internist in my community started ordering vitamin D blood tests during routine physical exams. I know three of his patients who had a history of mild to moderate depression, though they were not taking meds. All three had low vitamin D levels, were started on replacement therapy and within three months reported a marked improvement in energy and mood and virtually no depression. Not a rigorous scientific study, but definitely more food for thought.

Vitamin D supplements can be found over the counter in just about any corner store. However, the high dose form, which contains 50,000 units of the vitamin and is taken once or twice a week, can only be obtained by prescription.

A prescription for 50,000 units of vitamin D could be a simple remedy if your level of the vitamin is low. Of course, this should be discussed with your doctor. Many new studies are in the works looking at this intriguing connection. But in the meantime, the potential benefits of vitamin D for depression should not be ignored.

Being Sick Or Getting Infections Often

Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression

One of vitamin Ds most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so youre able to fight viruses and bacteria that cause illness.

It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection .

If you often become sick, especially with colds or the flu, low levels of vitamin D may be a contributing factor.

Several large observational studies have shown a link between a deficiency and respiratory tract infections such as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia .

A number of studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at a dosage of up to 4,000 IU daily may reduce your risk of developing a respiratory tract infection .


Vitamin D plays important roles in immune function. One of the most common symptoms of a deficiency is an increased risk of illness or infections.

Recommended Reading: Best Mood Enhancers For Depression

Vitamin D Deficiency And Depression In Adults: Systematic Review And Meta

Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Medicine, McMaster University
Zainab Samaan
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
Stephen D. Walter
Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University
Sarah D. McDonald
Affiliation:Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Diagnostic Imaging and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dr Rebecca Anglin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, F413-1 Fontbonne Building, St Joseph’s Hospital, 50 Charlton Avenue E, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2A6, Canada. Email:

Can You Ever Have Too Much Vitamin D

Yes. You can get too much vitamin D if you overdo the supplements. Interestingly, you cannot get too much vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D toxicity is, thankfully, quite rare but can lead to hypercalcemia and together the symptoms can include:

Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor. However, your doctor might recommend higher doses of vitamin D if he or she is checking your blood levels and adjusting your dose accordingly. Also, be cautious about getting large doses of vitamin A along with the D in some fish oils. Vitamin A can also reach toxic levels and can cause serious problems.

Also Check: Cbt For Teenage Depression Worksheets

Vitamin D And Pth Assays

Vitamin D status was measured by assessing circulating levels of 25D, which is the combined product of cutaneous synthesis from solar exposure and dietary sources. Fasting blood samples were obtained in the morning around 8 am and kept frozen at 80°C and never thawed before analysis. Serum 25D was measured using isotope dilutiononline solid phase extraction liquid chromatographytandem mass spectrometry , which is an accurate method for the quantification of 25D, known to be a difficult analyte to measure. In short, 25D was released from its binding protein and a deuterated internal standard D3-d6) was added. Samples were extracted and analyzed by XLC-MS/MS coupled to a Quattro Premier XE tandem mass spectrometer . Concentrations of 25D2 and 25D3 were measured separately and added to report total 25D. Limit of quantitation was 4.0nmoll1, intra-and inter-assay coefficients of variation were < 6% and < 8% for concentrations between 25 and 180nmoll1. The Institute of Medicine has set the optimal serum 25D at 50nmoll1 or higher. A serum 25D lower than 25nmoll1 is considered vitamin D deficient, as it may be associated with clinical skeletal disease, and a level from 2550nmoll1 is considered insufficient. As some experts consider serum 25D > 75nmoll1 as optimal, we also looked at the persons with a serum 25D between 50 and 75nmoll1 .

Assessment Of Depressive Symptoms

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Depressive symptoms were measured by a short eight-item version of the validated Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The CES-D scale is not a diagnostic instrument for clinical depression but can be used to identify people at risk of depression in population-based studies. This short version had good internal consistency at each wave and comparable psychometric properties to the full 20-item CES-D. Respondents were asked whether they had experienced any depressive symptoms, such as restless sleep or being unhappy in the week prior to interview. Respondents who reported four or more depressive symptoms in the week prior to the interview were classified as reporting elevated depressive symptoms,.

Recommended Reading: I Think I May Be Depressed

Take Vitamin D Supplements

Regular sunshine and a healthy diet cant help everyone. A potent way to battle a vitamin D deficiency is through supplements. Vitamin D supplements are available in a liquid or pill form. Doctors can prescribe higher doses of this nutrient to be taken once a week. Most pharmacies and grocery stores carry everyday vitamin D supplements.

Taking one small pill might prevent anxiety and depression. Its worth a try because its cost-effective and has few side effects. Though, its best to talk to a medical professional when deciding to take supplements or address a nutritional deficiency. Vitamin D supplements can interact with other medications.

Depression And Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is associated with depression, but increasing serum levels of this substance in patients does not curb symptoms.
  • Similar groups, such as the elderly, the young, and people with chronic illness, are vulnerable to both depression and vitamin D deficiency.
  • Social withdrawal and a lack of self-care may cause people with depression to have lower vitamin D levels than others.
  • Social interaction and a better diet may improve depression symptoms and raise vitamin D levels.

Recommended Reading: Anxiety And Depression In The Workplace

What Other Factors Can Lead To Vitamin D Deficiency

  • Age: The skin’s ability to make vitamin D lessens with age.
  • Mobility: People who are homebound or are rarely outside are not able to use sun exposure as a source of vitamin D.
  • Skin color: Dark-colored skin is less able to make vitamin D than fair-colored skin.
  • Human breast milk: A woman’s breast milk only contains a small amount of vitamin D. Often infant formulas also only include a small amount of D also. Therefore infants are at risk of not receiving enough vitamin D. This is especially true for infants who are only fed breast milk.

Vitamin D Depressive Symptoms And Covid

5 Common Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
  • 1Postgraduate Program in Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 2Translational Nutritional Neuroscience Working Group, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 3Nutrition Graduation Course, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 4Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 6Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, Kingston General Hospital, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 7Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada

Recommended Reading: How To Get Out Of A Depressed Mood

Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms Treatments Causes And More

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.

Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has many important functions throughout your body .

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions like a hormone. Many cells in your body have a receptor for it.

Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

Its also found in certain foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, though its very difficult to get enough from your diet alone.

The Endocrine Society recommends that most adults get 1,5002,000 IUs of vitamin D daily (

4 ).

According to one review, 41.6% of adults in the United States are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanic adults and 82.1% in African American adults (

Here are some signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

Assessment Of Publication Bias

Publication bias was examined by the construction of a funnel plot showing the relationship between the SMD and the SE of logarithmic SMD, the Begg’s rank correlation, and Egger’s regression tests. The symmetric funnel plot suggested no evidence of publication bias . Egger’s test and Begg’s test yielded similar results to the visual inspection for symmetry of funnel plot: Egger P = .258 Begg P = .546.

Don’t Miss: Is Depression Treatable With Medication

Depression Sunlight And Vitamin D In The Elderly

Research from Belgium has shown that there is a high rate vitamin D deficiency in elderly nursing-home residents. In fact, almost every resident was deficient. Also, the research showed that as vitamin D deficiency was compared with the likelihood of depression among those residents, there was a consistent tendency toward increasing depressive symptoms with increasing D deficiency. In other words, those who were most D deficient were most likely to be depressed.

This research simply confirms the results of other investigations, most notably a study showing that Those whose vitamin D levels were deficientdefined as less than 20 ng/mlhad 11.7 times the incidence of depression when compared to those whose vitamin D levels were higher. Usually an association is considered impressive when a measured factor correlates to a 50% increase or decrease. In this case, the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and risk of depression was a staggering 1,169 percent! Still other related research showed that elderly persons whose serum vitamin D levels were in the deficient category had three-and-one-half times the risk of being admitted to a nursing home as those whose levels were in the highest category.

Verhoeven V, Vanpuyenbroeck K, Lopez-Hartmann M, Wens J, Remmen R. Walk on the sunny side of lifeepidemiology of hypovitaminosis D and mental health in elderly nursing home residents. J Nutr Health Aging 2012 Apr 16:417-20

Popular Articles
Related news