The effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in adults: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials

Tuomas Mikola*, Wolfgang Marx, Melissa M. Lane, Meghan Hockey, Amy Loughman, Sanna Rajapolvi, Tetyana Rocks, Adrienne O’Neil, David Mischoulon, Minna Valkonen-Korhonen, Soili M. Lehto, Anu Ruusunen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Neurosteroid and immunological actions of vitamin D may regulate depression-linked physiology. Meta‐analyses investigating the effect of vitamin D on depression have been inconsistent. This meta-analysis investigated the efficacy of vitamin D in reducing depressive symptoms among adults in randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCT). General and clinical populations, and studies of ill individuals with systemic diseases were included. Light therapy, co-supplementation (except calcium) and bipolar disorder were exclusionary. Databases Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL and The Cochrane Library were searched to identify relevant articles in English published before April 2022. Cochrane risk-of-bias tool (RoB 2) and GRADE were used to appraise studies. Forty-one RCTs (n = 53,235) were included. Analyses based on random-effects models were performed with the Comprehensive Meta-analysis Software. Results for main outcome (n = 53,235) revealed a positive effect of vitamin D on depressive symptoms (Hedges’ g = −0.317, 95% CI [−0.405, −0.230], p < 0.001, I2 = 88.16%; GRADE: very low certainty). RoB assessment was concerning in most studies. Notwithstanding high heterogeneity, vitamin D supplementation ≥ 2,000 IU/day appears to reduce depressive symptoms. Future research should investigate possible benefits of augmenting standard treatments with vitamin D in clinical depression. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020149760. Funding: Finnish Medical Foundation, grant 4120 and Juho Vainio Foundation, grant 202100353.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

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