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Vitamin D deficiency links with depressive symptoms in young women

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The study

185 non-pregnant American women aged 18-25 were assessed for symptoms of depression and vitamin D levels over a period of four weeks. Young healthy women were chosen for the study, to remove the impact of confounding factors such as co-mordibities, age and gender.

The findings

1 Vitamin D3 levels correlated with clinically significant symptoms of depression.

2 Women from ethnic minorities were more likely to have vitamin D3 deficiency.

3 Foods with high vitamin D concentrations seem to have a negligible impact on vitamin D3 levels compared to vitamin D3 supplements and sunlight exposure.

What does this mean for GPs

GPs should be proactive in screening for vitamin D3 deficiency in young women.

GPs should be aware of the possibility of vitamin D3 deficiency in women suffering from depression, and that treating this could help to improve symptoms of depression.

The paper

Psychiatry Research, March 2015 

Dr Hamed Khan is a GP in the emergency department of St George’s, London, and a clinical lecturer. He tweets as @drhamedkhan.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • correlation does not equal causation.

    the paper does not provide evidence that Vitamin D replacement could improve symptoms of depression.

    - anonymous salaried!

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  • But does giving vitamin D actually improve symptoms of depression?

    Although most drug treatments for mild/moderate depression are barely better than placebo anyway....

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  • I felt depressed when I spent 12-14 hours a day in work, arriving and leaving in the dark. I suspect that my vitamin d levels were relatively low.

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  • I was having burning dysuria with penile discharge.Took some colecalciferol tablets and oh boy i was back to normal straight away.Miraculous stuff.Does wonders for prolapsed haemorrhoids too.

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  • If we are going to be subjected to journal club, then please could we have information about high quality evidence and not add to the band wagon of vitamin D being the panacea for all ills?

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  • More rubbish

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