Elderly people with low levels of vitamin D may be at increased risk for depression and other mental health disorders, Dutch researchers say.
Of the 1,282 people, ages 65 to 92, in the study, 26 had major depression and 169 had minor depression. Vitamin D levels were 14 percent lower in those with major or minor depression, Agence France-Presse reported.
The researchers also found that low vitamin D levels were associated with increased levels of a hormone secreted by the parathyroid gland. Overactive parathyroid glands are often linked with depression.
The findings, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, may help lead to new ways to treat depression, AFP reported. Both low vitamin D levels and high parathyroid hormone levels can be corrected by dietary and calcium supplements or increased exposure to sunlight, which prompts the body to make vitamin D.