Vitamin D Cuts Depression Risk

Monday, 23 Jan 2012 10:32 AM

 

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Boosting a child’s vitamin D levels could significantly reduce the risk of depression in adolescence, according to the first study linking mental health problems to low levels of the “sunshine vitamin.”
Researchers at of Bristol University tracked vitamin D levels in 2,700 children – aged 9 to 13 years – and found those with low levels of the vitamin were more likely to develop depression. Those with higher levels of vitamin D less likely to become depressed in adolescence.
“This is the first study in children to suggest that the association between (vitamin D) concentrations and depression emerges in childhood,” the researchers reported. “The association is independent of a wide range of potential confounding factors.”
Vitamin D is found oily fish, such as tuna, is added to milk and is produced naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Depression is common among adolescents and strikes an estimated 10 percent of Americans.
Researchers said their findings suggest screening depressed people for vitamin D deficiencies might provide another avenue for treatment.
The Bristol research echoes a second study published earlier this month in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings linking vitamin D and depression in a survey of almost 12,600 people.
Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, lead author of that study, done in conjunction with The Cooper Institute in Dallas, said the findings suggest people with depression be screened for vitamin D levels, but stopped short of recommending that people take supplements.
Vitamin D levels are tested during routine physical exams and have been linked to a variety of conditions, including autoimmune diseases; heart and vascular disease; infectious diseases; osteoporosis; obesity; diabetes; certain cancers; and neurological disorders and multiple sclerosis.


© HealthDay

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