These days, trying to keep a healthy style of life is probably one of the biggest challenges ever. Although a lot of people still don’t look at depression as a health condition, it is the sort of illness that affects a staggering number of people. The worst part is that not even scientists are fully aware of the factors that can cause depression. But, one step at a time, the scientists will crack this too. A recent study shows that depression is linked to the lack of vitamin D.
The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows that there is a strong correlation between depression and low levels of vitamin D. UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists have started the largest investigation on the matter with the help of the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Their findings may put an end to all the conflictual results previous studies have showed.
Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, declared: “Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients – and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels – might be useful”. However, despite their findings so far, these scientists say they “don’t have enough information yet to recommend going out and taking supplements”.
The fact is that although they have noticed a correlation, scientists still have not determined the exact relationship. The uncertainty is linked to whether low vitamin D contributes to depression, or whether the depression affects the level of vitamin D in the body, by reducing it.
One thing is for sure, according to Dr. Brown. Vitamin D has the potential to affect neurotransmitters and inflammatory markers. So far, the levels of vitamin D in the body have been showed to be risk factors in autoimmune and infectious diseases, diabetes, several cancers, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as general cognitive decline.
The study has examined the results of 12,600 participants from late 2006 to late 2010. The main result is that higher vitamin D levels tend to be linked to a significant decreased risk of depression.
Depression and vitamin D deficiency is a topic that has initiated a lot of debates over the past few years, so finally sorting that out will be an important breakthrough in medicine today.