Study Identifies Association between Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression in Older Adults

It appears that older adults who do not get enough vital vitamin D are at a greater risk for depression. A recent Medscape article focused on a British national survey of older adults. This survey found that those with a clinical deficiency of vitamin D have a significant association with depressive symptoms.

The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and mental disorders has been studied in young adults, yet very little focus has been put on the older generation. This lack of research is interesting given the higher potential impact among this segment of the population.

To reach their findings, researchers focused on 2,070 adults aged 65 or older who had participated in the 2005 Health Survey for England. Vitamin D levels were measured and symptoms associated with depression were scored according to the Geriatric Depression Scale.

Findings suggest that 25.2 percent of the participants had depressive symptoms. The depressive symptoms increased for those older adults who had even lower amounts of vitamin D in their system.

There are industry experts who discount this research, including geriatrician and epidemiologist Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, with the Clinical Research Branch of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Ferrucci believes there are other things at play when vitamin D is low.

For instance, low vitamin D suggests pathological problems, which alone can lead to depression. Even researchers involved with this study suggest depression could be the cause and not the consequence. To know for sure, further research in this area must be completed.

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