Vitamin D Supplements Help Support Mood In Large Study
In an extensive meta-analysis of 41 studies, vitamin D supplementation alleviated depressive symptoms and improved mood more than placebo pills.
There were major differences in the vitamin D doses used, but typically the vitamin D supplement was 50-100 micrograms per day.
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An extensive meta-analysis suggests that vitamin D supplementation may alleviate depressive symptoms. Conducted by an international team of researchers, the meta-analysis includes dozens of studies from around the world.
Depressive symptoms cause a significant disease burden worldwide. The therapeutic efficacy of current antidepressants is often insufficient, which is why further ways to alleviate depressive symptoms have been sought, for example, from nutritional research.
Vitamin D is believed to regulate central nervous system functions the disturbances of which have been associated with depressive symptoms. In addition, 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 depressive symptoms have been inconclusive. In a meta-analysis, results from several different studies are combined and analysed statistically.
The new meta-analysis on the association of vitamin D supplementation with depressive symptoms is the largest one published so far, including results from 41 studies from around the world. These studies have investigated the efficacy of vitamin D in alleviating depressive symptoms in adults by randomised placebo-controlled trials in different populations.
The studies included those carried out in patients with depressive symptoms, in the general population, and in people with various physical conditions. The results of the meta-analysis show that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than a placebo in alleviating depressive symptoms. There were major differences in the vitamin D doses used, but typically the vitamin D supplement was 50-100 micrograms per day.
"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," Doctoral Researcher and lead author Tuomas Mikola of the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland says. The meta-analysis is part of Mikola's PhD thesis.
"These findings will encourage new, high-level clinical trials in patients with [depressive symptoms] in order to shed more light on the possible role of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of [depressive symptoms]," Mikola concludes.
The meta-analysis was carried out in international collaboration between Finnish, Australian and US researchers.
- Tuomas Mikola, Wolfgang Marx, Melissa M. Lane, Meghan Hockey, Amy Loughman, Sanna Rajapolvi, Tetyana Rocks, Adrienne O’Neil, David Mischoulon, Minna Valkonen-Korhonen, Soili M. Lehto, Anu Ruusunen. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in adults: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2022; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2096560