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Low levels of vitamin D are implicated in all kinds of illnesses and disorder from cardiovascular to neurological. A new study, the largest of its kind, helps to clarify the role of vitamin D in depression.
“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,” said Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, professor psychiatry and senior author of the study. “But we don’t have enough information yet to recommend going out and taking supplements.”
The UT Southwestern researchers looked at results from over 12,000 participants from late 2006 to late 2010. Brown and colleagues found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of depression. Low vitamin D levels were associated with current depression. People with a history of depressive symptoms were particularly susceptible. The study recommended potential screening for vitamin deficiency in people with a past history of depression.
Scientists haven’t figure out the relationship between the vitamin and depression. It may be that vitamin D affects neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers and other factors, which could explain the occurrence of depression according Brown.
Vitamin D levels are now tested during routine examinations and they are considered an acceptable risk factor for a number of other medical problems including autoimmune diseases, heart and vascular disease, infectious diseases, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and general cognitive decline. No one is debating the importance of this particular vitamin.
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