A new study from the Oregon State University has suggested that there is a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depression in healthy young women.
Young women with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to have clinically significant depressive symptoms.
“Depression has multiple, powerful causes and if vitamin D is part of the picture, it is just a small part,” said David Kerr from the Oregon State University and lead author in a paper published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone health and muscle function and its deficiency has been associated with impaired immune function, some forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
“I think people hear that vitamin D and depression can change with the seasons, so it is natural for them to assume the two are connected,” added Adrian Gombart, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics from the university.
For the study, researchers recruited 185 college students, all women aged 18-25.Vitamin D levels were measured from blood samples and participants completed a depression symptom survey each week for five weeks.
More than a third of the participants reported clinically significant depressive symptoms each week over the course of the study.
“Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available. They certainly shouldn’t be considered as alternatives to the treatments known to be effective for depression, but they are good for overall health,” Kerr concluded.
Dr. Kerr studies the development of depression and conduct problems, and the prevention of youth suicide and health-risking sexual behaviors.
He has published papers on the intergenerational transmission of antisocial behavior and negative parenting, gene-environment interaction, pregnancy prevention, and the natural course of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in community and clinical samples.
(With inputs from IANS)