Vitamin D supplements help treat depression, study reveals

KUOPIO, Finland — Can simply being out in the sun help battle depression? A new study by international researchers finds that vitamin D may reduce depressive symptoms in adults.

Examining dozens of studies from around the world, researchers conducted a meta-analysis on the association between taking vitamin D supplements and depression. The 41 studies investigated the efficacy of vitamin D in combatting depression in adults during randomized placebo-controlled trials in different populations. The studies involved patients with dealing with depression, people from the general population, and those with various physical conditions.

Results from the meta-analysis reveal that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than taking a placebo for lowering depressive symptoms. Researchers say the typical daily supplement contains 50 to 100 micrograms of vitamin D.

“Despite the broad scope of this meta-analysis, the certainty of evidence remains low due to the heterogeneity of the populations studied and the due to the risk of bias associated with a large number of studies,” says lead author Tuomas Mikola, doctoral researcher at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland, in a university release.

How does vitamin D improve mental health?

Researchers say vitamin D regulates central nervous system disturbances associated with depression. Prior cross-sectional studies have linked vitamin D deficiency and symptoms of depression. However, previous meta-analyses on the effects of vitamin D supplementation on depression have been inconclusive, until now.

“These findings will encourage new, high-level clinical trials in patients with depression in order to shed more light on the possible role of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of depression,” notes Mikola.

This new meta-analysis is the largest one published examining vitamin D and its impact on depression. Around 21 million Americans suffer from depression.

The meta-analysis is published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

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Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

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  1. Once again, the headline gets it wrong regarding this study.
    Popping D3 pills does nothing for anybody and is no cure for anything. This study is about remediating vitamin D deficiency.
    Get an objective, diagnostic test that validates any deficiency, then seek natural sunlight exposure if possible.

    1. My understanding is that for those of us in more northerly latitudes only in high summer are we able to get sufficient sunlight to produce the proper amount of D. I don’t know about you but what I usually hear is essentially, “Goeth, Thou to The Outside! It be all like Magic! The Great D! The Great D!”.
      Seldom do I hear anything about how much a receding Sun is less and less effective. The Science becomes more like Magic and incantations.
      Hearest, thou different in the lay press, goodly dude?

    2. Oh?


      How’s vitamin D supplementation and the outcomes of lupus, IBD, Crowns, IBS, MS, bacterial infections, Covid infection, BREAST, COLON, PANCREATIC, LUNG cancer, TBI, herpes, shingles, sickle cell, skin rash, sunburn, oral health etc etc etc?

      Look it up my clueless pigeon and get thee to a supplement store.

      1. Learn to read; before popping D, have diagnostic tests to validate any deficiencies.
        Did you miss that?
        And the best way to mitigate a D3 deficiency is natural sunlight “if possible”.
        Did you miss that?
        I encounter more stupidity on the internet, but I guess you missed that.

    3. Sunlight and being outdoors doesn’t take a scientist to figure out. Just go outside.

    4. I cannot go out into the sun as I have had melanoma cancer. I take D3 pills to increase my deficiency,as per my doctor. So get your facts str8 b4 you share your ignorant wisdom.

    5. I can tell from you vapid and contradictory statements that you’re probably functionally illerated but you’re wrong from you initial 2 statements. Whether you agree with the conclusions or not, whether you prefer sunlight to supplements, the study was indeed about Vitamin D supplementation. Simple, outright lies, don’t speak well of your character.

  2. No secret here. Vitamin D is and has been known to increase dopamine production for years. Think about it … beaches are full of happy people, while the depressed sit at home in the dark.

  3. Which is why the old Swiss sanatoriums had patients stay outside in lounge chairs for most the day in the bright sunlight. Worked. Massive D exposure. Btw: D from the sun is not toxic. D from pills can get toxic if one takes too much.

    1. Stop scaring people unless you will provide adequate documentation of excessive dosages. Do I tell you to not drink too much water because it can kill you?

    2. THANK YOU!
      These supplement loving dolts are always looking for some soft, east way.
      And the companies selling this bunk exploit this herd of fools.

      1. They shop at our Whole Foods because they want “natural” food, but then push chemicals on people for depression and gender disphoria?

  4. i live in minnesota and well into my 70s. In January on a calm sunny day i will
    sit on the south side of my house for about 30 minutes exposing only my face.
    like the Eagles i get a peacefull easy feeling. I also wear dark clothing to maximize
    the heat while outside. works for me !

  5. I’ve known this for years

    explains why eveff tv y body is happy and cheerful in my Florida Beach community. But in bag weather everyone seems rundown.

  6. What’s wrong with people on here. They can’t even be civil with each other over whether vit. D is or isn’t beneficial in treating depression. Everyone has the right to their opinion and every replyer should respectfully agree or disagree to those comments. Stop with the nastiness because its negative and we don’t need anymore negativity in this world. May God bless you all.

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