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Published: June 10, 2021

Vitamin D levels associated with depressive symptoms

Whilst there have been some inconsistent results from previous studies, meta-analyses​ and systematic reviews​ indicate that depression may be related to low serum vitamin D concentrations. Previous studies have also indicated an association between depressive symptoms and low-grade inflammatory response​ while a decrease in pro-inflammatory markers has been observed after treatment with anti-depressants and it has been reported​ that inflammation can be a risk factor for the development of depression.

Yet there are few studies examining the complex relationship of vitamin D, depression and inflammation and those that have been conducted are mostly in small samples and with differing methodology. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine whether inflammation acts as a moderator or mediator on the association between vitamin D and depressive symptomatology in a large community sample.

The researchers, from the University of Leipzig, Germany, found negative correlations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptomatology and three inflammatory markers (CRP, IL-6, WBC), which were in turn positively associated with depressive symptomatology.

This is the first work examining the role of inflammation in the relation between depressive symptomatology and serum vitamin D levels using mediation and moderation analyses in a community sample.

Due to the cross-sectional design of this study, no assumptions regarding causality can be drawn. 

The report states: "This present work highlighted the complex relationship between vitamin D, depressive symptoms and inflammation...

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