An association between vitamin D deficiency and many mood disorders has been suggested in several studies. These associations include major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), premenstrual syndrome and other depressive disorders.
Peer-reviewed research studies were located in various data-bases searching for studies investigating vitamin D and depression, seasonal affective disorder, PMS, postpartum depression, perinatal depression, depressive disorder or mood disorder in women. Eleven studies were initially identified, but five were eliminated because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. Of these six studies, four reported significant results showing an association between low serum 25 (OH) D levels and symptoms of a mood disorder, SAD, major depressive disorder, or PMS. One study of major depression and one on SAD did not report an association. Only one of the four positive studies was a randomized controlled trial.
Vitamin D receptors are involved in the regulation of glucocorticoid signaling and dysfunctional glucocorticoid signaling and increased glucocorticoids have been implicated in major depressive disorder. Other biochemical mechanisms may also exist, associating vitamin D with mood disorders.
I look forward to more research on specific mood disorders in women and vitamin D levels.
Murphy P, Wagner C. Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review. J Midwifery Women’s Health 2008;53:440-446.