Vitamin D Supplements Do Not Reduce Depression

March 19, 2014
Rachel Lutz

An analysis of clinical trials revealed vitamin D supplements are not associated with reduced depression, according to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Vitamin D supplements have no effect on depression, a meta-analysis of clinical trials published in Psychosomatic Medicine discovered.

Jonathan A. Shaffer, PhD, and colleagues at the Columbia University Medical Center and its Center for Cardiovascular Behavioral Health found only 7 trials with roughly 3,200 participants have evaluated the effects of vitamin D on depression. The researchers noted almost all of the trials had methodological flaws and limitations, and all but 2 involved participants without clinically significant depression at the start of the study.

The investigators said most trials had unclear or high risk of bias and varied in the amount, frequency, duration, and mode of delivery of vitamin D supplementation. However, they said vitamin D supplements might help patients with clinically significant depression, especially when combined with existing antidepressant medication. The researchers advocated for well-designed trials that test the effect of vitamin D supplements in these patient to determine if there is any clinical benefit.

The authors further suggested vitamin D supplements may only be effective in patients with both depression and vitamin D deficiency.

“Although tempting, adding vitamin D supplements to the armamentarium of remedies for depression appears premature based on the evidence available at this time,” Shaffer concluded.