After all, vitamin D can relieve depressive symptoms

After all, vitamin D can relieve depressive symptoms

Our bodies need the right amount of vitamin D to function well – both physically and mentally – and there is a growing body of evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to depression.

A new analysis of 41 previous studies suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may relieve depressive symptoms in people already diagnosed with depression, opening up a potential treatment option.

In addition to controlling calcium and phosphate levels in the body, vitamin D is believed to help regulate various functions in the central nervous system.

Previous animal studies suggest that it may contribute to controlling chemical balance in the brain, which may explain the link between vitamin D and mental health.

“These findings encourage further landmark clinical trials in patients with depression to shed more light on the potential role of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of depression,” said Thomas Mikkola, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Finland.

The new analysis included a total of 53,235 participants from 41 studies, including people with and without depression, people taking vitamin D supplements and people taking placebos, and individuals with a variety of physical conditions.

Although the doses used varied, the typical vitamin D supplement was 50-100 mcg per day. In depressed participants, vitamin D supplementation proved more effective than placebos for relieving depressive symptoms.

Vitamin D supplements have been shown to be most effective for shorter uses — less than 12 weeks, according to researchers. However, in healthy people, it was the placebos that had a slightly greater effect on depressive symptoms.

After all, vitamin D can relieve depressive symptoms

“Our results indicate that vitamin D supplementation has beneficial effects in both individuals with severe depressive disorder and those with milder, more clinically severe depressive symptoms.” em julho, na Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

With depression now recognized as the leading cause of disability worldwide – affecting more than 280 million people each year – and antidepressants not being effective for everyone, more treatment options need to be explored.

However, before we get ahead of ourselves, the data we have so far isn’t enough to prove that low vitamin D levels cause depression, or that supplementation is an effective treatment. While this new analysis shows a link, previous research was inconclusive.

While such analysis is useful for comparing results across a large number of people, different methods and factors within each individual study make it difficult to draw general conclusions—although much work has been done to correlate information across studies as a whole.

Greater statistical precision would be needed to know the outcome with certainty, through studies in a larger general and clinical population, and looking at different amounts of doses and different durations of treatment, for example.

Despite the broad scope of this analysis, the certainty of the evidence remains low due to the heterogeneity of the studied population and the risk of bias associated with a large number of studies.

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