Large study finds that placebo works as well as vitamin D supplements to prevent depression and improve mood

Large Study Con­firms Vit­a­min D Does Not Reduce Risk of Depres­sion in Adults (Mass Gen­er­al press release):

Vit­a­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion does not pro­tect against depres­sion in mid­dle-age or old­er adult­hood accord­ing results from one of the largest ever stud­ies of its kind … “There was no sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit from the sup­ple­ment for this pur­pose. It did not pre­vent depres­sion or improve mood,” says Olivia I. Okereke, MD, MS, of the Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal (MGH) Psy­chi­a­try Department.

Okereke is the lead author of the report and prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor of this study … It includ­ed more than 18,000 men and women aged 50 years or old­er. Half the par­tic­i­pants received vit­a­min D3 (chole­cal­cif­er­ol) sup­ple­men­ta­tion for an aver­age of five years, and the oth­er half received a match­ing place­bo for the same duration.

This study, called VITAL-DEP (Depres­sion End­point Pre­ven­tion in the Vit­a­min D and Omega‑3 Tri­al), was an ancil­lary study to VITAL, a ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­al of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and can­cer pre­ven­tion among near­ly 26,000 peo­ple in the US.

From that group, Okereke and her col­leagues stud­ied the 18,353 men and women who did not already have any indi­ca­tion of clin­i­cal depres­sion to start with, and then test­ed whether vit­a­min D3 pre­vent­ed them from becom­ing depressed.”

The Study:

Effect of Long-term Vit­a­min D3 Sup­ple­men­ta­tion vs Place­bo on Risk of Depres­sion or Clin­i­cal­ly Rel­e­vant Depres­sive Symp­toms and on Change in Mood Scores (JAMA). Key points from the study:

  • Ques­tion: Can long-term sup­ple­men­ta­tion with vit­a­min D3 pre­vent depres­sion in the gen­er­al adult population?
  • Find­ings: In this ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­al that includ­ed 18,353 adults aged 50 years or old­er with­out depres­sion or clin­i­cal­ly rel­e­vant depres­sive symp­toms at base­line, vit­a­min D3 sup­ple­men­ta­tion com­pared with place­bo did not result in sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in the inci­dence and recur­rence of depres­sion or clin­i­cal­ly rel­e­vant depres­sive symp­toms (haz­ard ratio, 0.97) or for change in mood scores over a 5‑year treat­ment period.
  • Mean­ing: These find­ings do not sup­port the use of vit­a­min D3 in adults to pre­vent depression.

The Study in Context:

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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