Vitamin D supplements may help depression symptoms, study finds

Photo (c) Pakin Songmor - Getty Images

Increasing vitamin D intake on a daily basis can be beneficial for consumers’ mental health

While a recent study looked at the ways that vitamin B6 can improve consumers’ anxiety and depression symptoms, a new study is looking at how vitamin D can affect mental health. According to researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, vitamin D supplements may help reduce depression symptoms. 

“Neurosteroid and immunological actions of vitamin D may regulate depression-linked physiology,” the researchers wrote. “Meta-analyses investigating the effect of vitamin D on depression have been inconsistent. This meta-analysis investigated the efficacy of vitamin D in reducing depressive symptoms among adults in randomized placebo-controlled trials.”  

Improving depression symptoms

The researchers analyzed data from over 40 global studies that looked at how taking vitamin D supplements can affect depression-related symptoms. The studies included information on more than 53,000 participants, some of whom had different physical conditions, depression, or no mental health concerns. 

The study showed that vitamin D was effective at improving depression symptoms. This was particularly true for participants who struggled with major depressive disorder and women with perinatal depression; however, participants over the age of 65 who struggled with depression didn’t benefit from the vitamin supplement. For participants with no history of depression, taking the daily supplement didn’t affect their mental health positively or negatively. 

The participants from the study all took varying amounts of vitamin D supplements, but researchers found that taking at least 2,000 IU per day is likely to yield the most beneficial mental health results. Now, the team hopes further research is conducted so that experts can better understand the ways that vitamin D can improve consumers’ mental health. 

“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,” said researcher Tuomas Mikola. 

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