Vitamin D supplementation appears to improve depressive symptoms in adults

Summary: Results of a large meta-analysis study reveal that vitamin D supplementation may help improve symptoms of depression.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

An extensive meta-analysis suggests that vitamin D supplementation may improve depressive symptoms in adults with depression. Conducted by an international team of researchers, the meta-analysis includes dozens of studies from around the world.

Depressive symptoms cause a significant burden of disease worldwide. The therapeutic efficacy of current antidepressants is often insufficient, which is why other means of alleviating the symptoms of depression have been sought, for example from nutritional research.

Vitamin D is thought to regulate central nervous system functions whose disturbances have been linked to depression. Additionally, cross-sectional studies have observed an association between depressive symptoms and vitamin D deficiency.

However, previous meta-analyses on the effects of vitamin D supplementation on depression have been inconclusive. In a meta-analysis, the results of several different studies are combined and analyzed statistically.

The new meta-analysis on the association of vitamin D supplementation with depression is the largest published to date, including results from 41 studies from around the world.

These studies investigated the effectiveness of vitamin D in relieving depressive symptoms in adults through randomized, placebo-controlled trials in different populations.

The studies included those conducted in patients with depression, in the general population and in people with various physical conditions.

Vitamin D is thought to regulate central nervous system functions whose disturbances have been linked to depression. Image is in public domain

The results of the meta-analysis show that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than a placebo in relieving depressive symptoms in people with depression. There were major differences in the doses of vitamin D used, but the vitamin D supplement was generally 50 to 100 micrograms per day.

“Despite the broad scope of this meta-analysis, the certainty of the evidence remains low due to the heterogeneity of the study populations and the risk of bias associated with a large number of studies,” said PhD researcher and lead author Tuomas Mikola from says the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland. The meta-analysis is part of Mikola’s doctorate. thesis.

“These results will encourage further high-level clinical trials in patients with depression to better understand the possible role of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of depression,” concludes Mikola.

The meta-analysis was published in Critical journals in food science and nutrition and carried out in international collaboration between Finnish, Australian and American researchers.

About this depression and the news of vitamin D research

Author: Press office
Source: University of Eastern Finland
Contact: Press office – University of Eastern Finland
Image: Image is in public domain

Original research: Access closed.
The effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in adults: systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials” by Tuomas Mikola et al. Critical journals in food science and nutrition


Summary

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The effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in adults: systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials

The neurosteroid and immunological actions of vitamin D may regulate depression-related physiology. Meta‐analyses investigating the effect of vitamin D on depression have been inconsistent.

This meta-analysis investigated the effectiveness of vitamin D in reducing depressive symptoms in adults in randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs).

General and clinical populations, as well as studies of people with systemic diseases were included. Light therapy, co-supplementation (except calcium), and bipolar disorder were exclusive.

Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL and The Cochrane Library databases were searched to identify relevant English-language articles published before April 2022. The Cochrane tool for risk of bias (RoB 2) and GRADE were used to assess studies. Forty-one RCTs (not= 53,235) were included. Analyzes based on random-effects models were performed with the full meta-analysis software.

Results for the main result (not= 53,235) revealed a positive effect of vitamin D on depressive symptoms (Hedges’ g= −0.317, 95% CI [−0.405, −0.230], p< 0.001, i2 = 88.16%; GRADE: very low certainty). RoB assessment was of concern in most studies. Despite strong heterogeneity, vitamin D supplementation ≥ 2000 IU/day seems to reduce depressive symptoms.

Future research should investigate the possible benefits of augmenting standard treatments with vitamin D in clinical depression.

PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020149760. Funding: Finnish Medical Foundation, grant 4120 and Juho Vainio Foundation, grant 202100353.

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