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HHS HealthBeat (April 24, 2014)

Vitamin D and depression

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A closer look at the data indicates vitamin D does not live up to its reputation about relieving symptoms of depression. Researcher Jonathan Shaffer at Columbia University Medical Center looked through the data, focusing on seven studies in which a total of about 3,200 participants were given vitamin D or an inactive substitute.

“The overall improvement in depression across all trials was small and not clinically meaningful. There is currently not enough evidence to recommend using vitamin D supplements for depression.”

Shaffer says those studies had limitations, and more research is needed to see if vitamin D supplements can  help patients with depression, especially if they also take standard medications.

The study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: April 24, 2014