Posted on May 26, 2010, 6 a.m.
Older men and women with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to suffer from depression than those with higher levels of the vitamin.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression in older adults. Dr Luigi Ferrucci of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore (US) and colleagues investigated whether low vitamin D levels and depression in older men and women were related. The researchers followed 531 women and 423 men aged 65 and older who were participating in the InCHIANTI Study, a long-term investigation of factors associated with loss of mobility in aging people. Results showed that women who had insufficient levels of vitamin D showed a worse decline in mood over the course of the 6-year-long study compared to women who had adequate vitamin D levels. Furthermore, women with insufficient vitamin D who were not depressed at the start of the study were found to be twice as likely to become depressed over the following six years as the women who had sufficient levels. Similar, but less significant, findings were observed in men. The authors concluded: "Our findings suggest that hypovitaminosis D is a risk factor for the development of depressive symptoms in older persons. The strength of the prospective association is higher in women than in men. Understanding the potential causal pathway between vitamin D deficiency and depression requires further research."
Yuri Milaneschi, Michelle Shardell, Anna Maria Corsi, Rosamaria Vazzana, Stefania Bandinelli, Jack M. Guralnik, and Luigi Ferrucci. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and depressive symptoms in older women and men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 May 5. [EPub ahead of print]