Vitamin D Supplementation and Symptoms Of Depression

Vitamin D is a truly top tier vits and min, with the nutrient linked to a number of health benefits, from helping to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body to affecting T-cell activation, the cells in our body responsible for fighting infections. In fact, vitamin D is so important that both the NHS and the National Institutes of Health recommend the whole population supplement their vitamin D intake during autumn and winter, when the sun — whose sunny beams cause the body to make the vital micronutrient — isn’t around so much. 

One health benefit of vitamin D that has had a lot of research around it recently is the alleviation of depressive symptoms. 

A meta-analysis of all these studies (a meta-analysis is basically when researchers collate known and quality studies around a subject into one paper) released in August and published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition came up with some interesting conclusions on the link you’d do well to note. Here’s our summary of what the research is saying.

Vitamin D and depression: the background

The study begins by pointing ​​out that according to figures from the WHO, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 320 million people every year. While antidepressants can be an effective treatment, they’re not always sufficient for all individuals, highlighting the need for a more holistic approach that also takes nutrition into account.

This is where vitamin D comes into play. Vitamin D is thought to regulate central nervous system functions, the disturbances of which have been associated with depression. FYI, the central nervous system is the part of the nervous system consisting primarily of the brain and spinal cord. 

Alongside this, we have seen cross-sectional studies observe an association between depressive symptoms and vitamin D deficiency. Previous meta-analyses have been inconclusive, but this fresh one is a step forward.


What the study says

So, onto the main takeaway. The analysis looked at 41 studies using randomised placebo-controlled trials on adults in different populations around the world, in the largest meta-analysis on vitamin D supplementation and symptoms of depression. It found that vitamin D supplementation is more effective than a placebo in alleviating depressive symptoms in people with depression. Bam, job done. Well, not quite.

Of course, with any takeaway, there are caveats to consider — and no, we’re not talking about wait times and hygiene ratings. Firstly, the paper concedes that the trials contained lots of variable data and evidence of “publication bias” that needs to be considered in the interpretation of findings.

“More well-documented and high-quality trials are needed to draw accurate conclusions,” concludes the study.


Getting in your vitamin D

Either way, we know vitamin D is an essential micronutrient that more than 40 percent of US adults are deficient in, and as many as one in five Brits. So, make sure you’re keeping your levels up. 

Just five to 30 minutes of sun exposure twice a week will keep your vitamin D at an optimum level, according to the National Institutes of Health, while most experts advise taking at least 400–800 IU/day or 10–20 micrograms of vitamin D a day. Supplements are a worthy consideration and can help give you peace of mind. Huel Powder v3.0 has your back with 80 percent of your NRV — the guideline amount that an average healthy person needs per day.

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