Food and Behaviour Research

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Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial.

Jorde R, Sneve M, Figenschau Y, Svartberg J, Waterloo K. (2008) J Intern Med. 2008 264(6) 599-609. Epub 2008 Sep 10 

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OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present study was to examine the cross-sectional relation between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-(OH) D) levels and depression in overweight and obese subjects and to assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study and randomized double blind controlled trial of 20,000 or 40,000 IU vitamin D per week versus placebo for 1 year.

SETTING: A total of 441 subjects (body mass index 28-47 kg m(-2), 159 men and 282 women, aged 21-70 years) recruited by advertisements or from the out-patient clinic at the University Hospital of North Norway.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score with subscales 1-13 and 14-21.

RESULTS: Subjects with serum 25(OH)D levels < 40 nmol L(-1) scored significantly higher (more depressive traits) than those with serum 25(OH)D levels > or = 40 nmol L(-1) on the BDI total (6.0 (0-23) versus 4.5 (0-28) (median and range)) and the BDI subscale 1-13 (2.0 (0-15) versus 1.0 (0-29.5))(P < 0.05). In the two groups given vitamin D, but not in the placebo group, there was a significant improvement in BDI scores after 1 year. There was a significant decrease in serum parathyroid hormone in the two vitamin D groups without a concomitant increase in serum calcium.

CONCLUSIONS: It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D and symptoms of depression. Supplementation with high doses of vitamin D seems to ameliorate these symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship.