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2014-05-22

Can Vitamin D Supplements Help Treat Depression?


Here is a quick post on a recent study showing vitamin D's efficacy for treating depression. Up until now, the use of Vitamin D supplements in depression was controversial. Biological flaws in primary studies is a possible reason meta-analyses of Vitamin D have failed to demonstrate efficacy. This newly published systematic review and meta-analysis of Vitamin D and depression compared studies with and without biological flaws.

The literature search was undertaken through four databases for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Studies were critically appraised for methodological quality and biological flaws, in relation to the hypothesis and study design. Meta-analyses were performed for studies according to the presence of biological flaws. The 15 RCTs identified provide a more comprehensive evidence-base than previous systematic reviews; methodological quality of studies was generally good and methodology was diverse.

A meta-analysis of all studies without flaws demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in depression with Vitamin D supplements. Studies with biological flaws were mainly inconclusive, with the meta-analysis demonstrating a statistically significant worsening in depression by taking Vitamin D supplements.

In studies that demonstrated a change in vitamin levels from supplementation, vitamin D intake of at least 800 IU/day was favoruable in the management of depression. In fact, the effect size was comparable to that of anti-depressant medication! More reason to take your D3 supplements, and since mid-day UV levels are already "high" in the Greater Toronto Area where I am, smart sun exposure is a great way to get some of this valuable nutrient.

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Source: Vitamin D and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing studies with and without biological flaws

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