Vitamin D has been hailed as a treatment for depression, and supplements are thought to help in preventing many diseases and medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and bone fractures.
However, a new study suggests that vitamin D supplements might not be the miracle pills they are hyped up to be.
Jonathan Shaffer, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center is the lead researcher on the study published in Psychosomatic Medicine. Researchers reviewed seven trials comparing the effects of using/not using vitamin D supplements as a treatment for people with depression, according to a Medical Xpress article.
It was found that most trials had “methodological” limitations, and most used participants who didn’t suffer from “clinically significant depression.” The reduction of depressive symptoms was minimal in all studies reviewed as well.
However, researchers believe that vitamin D supplements could still potentially help people suffering from “clinically significant depression,” but better trials need to be conducted. The dose and form of vitamin D supplements should also be reviewed in future studies.
People who are actually deficient in vitamin D might have the best results after taking a supplement, and others without a deficiency might not benefit at all from supplementation, researchers added.
So what about the plethora of studies linking vitamin D deficiency to depression, and all of the studies suggesting vitamin D improves many health conditions?
For example, a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2012 found a link between low vitamin D levels and depression. However, the study did not conclude that increasing vitamin D intake would reduce symptoms of depression, according to an article on ScienceDaily.com.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical advisory board member of the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association, believes there could be limitations in current vitamin D studies.