Depressed individuals may need vitamin D

Depressed individuals may need vitamin D

On November 20, 2018, The Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA) published the results of a study conducted by researchers at Trinity College in Dublin, which revealed a 75% increase in the risk of depression during a four-year follow up period among individuals with deficient levels of vitamin D.

The investigation included nearly 3,965 participants aged 50 years and older in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging. Blood levels of vitamin D were measured upon enrollment and the presence of depression was evaluated at two and four years.

Being deficient in vitamin D, defined as having a level of less than 12 nanograms per milliliter, was associated with a 75% greater risk of developing depression during follow-up than having nondeficient levels.

“This is the largest representative and most comprehensive study of depression risk and vitamin D status in older adults ever conducted in Ireland,” announced first author Robert Briggs of St James’ Hospital in Dublin. “Our findings will provide useful information to help inform public health policy – particularly regarding the proposition of the usefulness of vitamin D treatment/supplementation for depression.”

“Given that vitamin D is safe in the recommended intakes and is relatively cheap, this study adds to the growing evidence on the benefits of vitamin D for health,” noted senior author Eamon Laird, PhD. “It also helps to continue to impress the need on our public health bodies to develop Irish vitamin D recommendations for the general public. Up to this point, these are severely lacking.”

“It is our responsibility to now ascertain whether supplementation will influence depression,” added coauthor Rose Anne Kenny, MD. “There are many reasons for vitamin D supplementation in Ireland. Benefits to something as disabling and often ‘silent’ as depression are therefore important for wellbeing as we age.”