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Mental Health

Study: Vitamin D supplements could help with depression

The researchers recommended consuming at least 2,000IU of vitamin D a day to alleviate depression.


Pile of transparent capsules of golden yellow color lies on black modern background. Oil filled capsules vitamin A, vitamin D3, fish oil, omega 3, 6, 9, evening primrose, vitamin D, vitamin E.
In the study, the best results came from vitamin D supplements at 4,000IU per day, which is the upper limit to safely ingest the vitamin.
(Pedal to the Stock via Shutterstock)

By Pol Allingham via SWNS

Vitamin D supplements could help alleviate the symptoms of depression, scientists have discovered.

Made naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D has been found to lift Major Depressive Disorder.

Deficiency in the vitamin has been linked to depressive symptoms, which include low mood, unusual confusion, forgetfulness, feeling hopeless, guilty, and lacking motivation as well as having low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts.

Close up of smiling young african girl in summer hat looking at camera at the beach
(Shift Drive via Shutterstock)

Sufferers might avoid their friends and hobbies, eat too much or too little, and struggle in their home and professional lives.

The findings came from one of the largest studies to date which looked at 41 studies from all over the world and was carried out by the University of Eastern Finland.

Researchers recommended consuming at least 2,000IU of vitamin D a day to alleviate depression.

Depression is sweeping the globe as the highest cause of disability in the world, affecting more than 320 million people each year, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

food high in vitamin D
Foods high in Vitamin D. (Chatham172 via Shutterstock)

Yet poor treatment remains an issue. Antidepressants can be effective and are increasingly prescribed, but they are often not enough and relapses are common.

Researchers hope their findings will bolster research into vitamin D treating depression.

Doctoral Researcher and lead author Tuomas Mikola, Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University said: “Despite the broad scope of this meta-analysis, the certainty of evidence remains low due to the heterogeneity of the populations studied and the due to the risk of bias associated with a large number of studies.

“These findings will encourage new, high-level clinical trials in patients with depression in order to shed more light on the possible role of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of depression."

The best results came from 4,000IU vitamin D a day, which is the upper limit to safely ingest the vitamin.

According to the CDC, around 13 percent of Americans over the age of 18 were taking antidepressants between 2015 and 2018. 

The study was published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

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