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Vitamin D supplementation appears to reduce symptoms of depression in adults – Neuroscience News

Summary: The results of a large meta-analytic study show that vitamin D supplementation can help reduce symptoms of depression.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

A large meta-analysis suggests that vitamin D supplementation may reduce depressive symptoms in depressed adults. The meta-analysis, conducted by an international team of researchers, includes dozens of studies from around the world.

Depressive symptoms cause a significant burden of disease worldwide. The therapeutic effectiveness of current antidepressants is often insufficient, which is why other ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression have been sought, e.g. from nutritional research.

It is believed that vitamin D regulates the functions of the central nervous system, the disorders of which are associated with depression. Additionally, cross-sectional studies have observed an association between depressive symptoms and vitamin D deficiency.

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

A new meta-analysis on the link between vitamin D supplementation and 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 reducing depressive symptoms in adults in 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.

It is believed that vitamin D regulates the functions of the central nervous system, the disorders of which are associated with depression. The image is in the public domain

Results of a meta-analysis show that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than placebo in reducing depressive symptoms in people with depression. There was wide variation in the doses of vitamin D used, but typically vitamin D supplementation was 50–100 micrograms per day.

“Despite the wide 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 the large number of studies,” said PhD student and lead author Tuomas Mikola from the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland. The meta-analysis is part of Mikolov’s Ph.D. thesis.

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

A meta-analysis was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition and is carried out in an international collaboration between Finnish, Australian and American researchers.

About these depression and vitamin D research reports

Author: Press office
Source: University of Eastern Finland
Contact: Press office – University of Eastern Finland
Picture: The image is in the public domain

Original Research: Closed access.
“Effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” Tuomas Mikola et al. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition


Abstract

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Effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Neurosteroid and immunological effects of vitamin D may regulate depression-related physiology. Meta-analyses examining the effect of vitamin D on depression have been inconsistent.

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

General and clinical populations and studies of sick individuals with systemic diseases were included. Light therapy, cosupplementation (except calcium), and bipolar disorder were excluded.

Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL and The Cochrane Library were searched to identify relevant articles in English published before April 2022. The Cochrane risk-of-bias (RoB 2) tool and GRADE were used to assess studies. Forty-one RCTs (n= 53,235) were included. Analyzes based on random effects models were performed using comprehensive meta-analysis software.

Results for the main outcome (n= 53,235) revealed a positive effect of vitamin D on depressive symptoms (Hedges’ G= -0.317, 95% CI [−0.405, −0.230], Mr< 0.001, I2 = 88.16%; DEGREE: very low certainty). The assessment of RoB was of concern in most studies. Despite the high heterogeneity, vitamin D supplementation ≥ 2000 IU/day appears to reduce depressive symptoms.

Future research should examine the potential benefits of expanding standard vitamin D treatment in clinical depression.

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

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