Vitamin D is an essential element for the body to function and grow. It is used in the absorption of calcium, bone growth and development, it is known to control of cell growth, vitamin D is also involved in immune functioning particularly in the alleviation of inflammation. There is less clinical research examining the exact impact of vitamin D on mood.
Vitamin D deficiency is caused by under exposure to sun light and a low consumption of foods such as oily fish which contain vitamin D.
The current research is due to be reported at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, US. Three in depth case studies on women between the ages of 42 and 66 were conducted by researchers at Bayhealth Medical Centre in Dover, Delaware.
The women all met the criteria for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and were all taking anti-depressants. Additionally the women were also receiving treated for either Type 2 diabetes or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
After blood tests the women all tested deficient in vitamin D. It was reported that an 8-12 week course of vitamin D replacement therapy resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms of depression in each of the women.
The research although only on a very small sample could prove extremely valuable in the treatment of depression if the results were to be replicated on a larger sample.