Vitamin D Supplements May Cut Depression Symptoms

Study suggests that treatment may help women with seasonal depression in winter
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Treating women with seasonal depression using a vitamin D supplement can reduce depressive symptoms, according to a study published the August issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Clarissa Drymon Shipowick, R.N.C., of Washington State University in Richland, and colleagues conducted a study of nine women with serum vitamin D levels of less than 40 ng/ml, of whom six completed the Beck Depression Inventory before and after supplementation with vitamin D3.

The subjects experienced an average increase in vitamin D levels of 27 ng/ml after taking a daily supplement of 5,000 IU of the vitamin, and depressive symptoms eased after supplementation, the investigators found. Three of the women had serum vitamin D levels of more than 40 ng/ml after taking the vitamin D supplement, and their depression inventory scores indicated normal mood with minimal depression, the researchers discovered.

"Replication of this study with a larger, adequately powered sample is needed to provide a more definitive understanding of the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and seasonal depressive symptoms," the authors write. "This pilot study provides evidence to suggest that women who suffer from seasonal depressive symptoms may benefit from vitamin D3 supplementation if serum vitamin D levels are low."

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