Women with moderate to severe depression reported substantial improvement after undergoing treatment to overcome Vitamin D deficiency, according to a new find. ”Vitamin D may have an as-yet-unproven effect on mood, and its deficiency may exacerbate depression,” said Sonal Pathak, endocrinologist at Bayhealth Medical Centre in Dover. “If this association is confirmed, it may improve how we treat depression.”
The women in the study were aged between 42 and 66 years. All had previously diagnosed major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression, and were under medication. They were also being treated for either Type 2 diabetes or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), according to a Bayhealth statement. Because the women had risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, such as low vitamin D intake and poor sun exposure, they each underwent a vitamin D blood test. They were found with low levels of vitamin D, ranging from 8.9 to 14.5 nanograms per millilitre, levels considered deficient in vitamin D.
Over eight to 12 weeks, oral vitamin D replacement therapy restored the women’s vitamin D status to normal. After treatment, the women reported significant improvement in their depression. This 21-item questionnaire scores the severity of sadness and other symptoms of depression. A score of 0 to 9 indicates minimal depression; 10 to 18, mild depression; 19 to 29, moderate depression; and 30 to 63, severe depression. These findings will be presented on Saturday at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, US.