Low Vitamin D is Risky
Over the past few years, there has been a debate around the relationship between Vitamin D levels and depression. Studies suggest that low Vitamin D levels are already accepted as risk factors for several medical problems, such as autoimmune diseases, heart and vascular disease, infectious diseases, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis (MS), and general cognitive decline. However, the question remains of whether or not Vitamin D levels are linked to depressive symptoms and, if so, what exactly the relationship is.
What High Vitamin D Level Means
UT Southwestern Medical Center, in partnership with Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, has been conducting ongoing research on this topic. In this longitudinal research study, researchers examined results from late 2006 to late 2010 of approximately 12,600 participants. They found that higher Vitamin D levels were associated with lower risk of current depression (mainly in people with prior history of depression).
The Vitamin D – Depression Link
According to findings from this study, in individuals with a history of depression, low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms. However, there is yet no evidence to support whether increasing Vitamin D levels in those individuals will help reduce depressive symptoms.
The Nature of the Relationship
Moreover, while results from this research support the idea that there is in fact a relationship between Vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms, the exact direction of that relationship is still unclear. However, there is evidence that Vitamin D levels may affect neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers, and other factors, which could help explain how the vitamin is related to depression.
UT Southwestern Medical Center (2012, January 5). Low vitamin D levels linked to depression, psychiatrists report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120105131645.htm