Study Confirms Vitamin D Supplements Could Be An Effective Treatment For Depression Symptoms

Vitamin D supplements may help treat symptoms of clinical depression, according to a recent meta-analysis published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. To better understand the link between depression and vitamin D supplements, an international team of researchers reviewed 41 studies investigating the efficacy of vitamin D in alleviating depressive symptoms in adults through randomized placebo-controlled trials (via Insider).

Upon conducting the review and analysis, researchers found that vitamin D supplements were typically more effective at reducing symptoms of depression than the placebo. However, a small subgroup of adults without any underlying health conditions or a diagnosis of clinical depression favored the placebo over the supplements (per recent study). Despite this, researchers believe that the meta-analysis is still promising. "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 Tuomas Mikola, a PhD candidate at the University of Eastern Finland and lead author of the study (per Insider).

How could vitamin D supplements alleviate depression?

But how exactly could vitamin D supplements potentially relieve symptoms of depression? As it turns out, the answer may be connected to inflammation (via Medical News Today). According to Dr. Monique Aucoin, a naturopathic doctor and senior research fellow at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, mental health disorders may be related to an increase in inflammation in the body, which vitamin D supplements may help reduce.

"The exact mechanism of how vitamin D impacts the brain and mental health is not entirely clear," Aucoin told Medical News Today. "There is evidence that vitamin D may modulate, or balance, parts of the immune system that are involved in inflammation," she continued. Whether or not vitamin D supplements could be used to help treat depression is still unclear. Aucoin says that, while there aren't any major concerns about giving vitamin D supplements to people who are already being treated for their depression, further research is still needed before any conclusions can be drawn about vitamin D's ability to treat depression on its own.