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Psychosomatic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000044
Review Articles

Vitamin D Supplementation for Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Shaffer, Jonathan A. PhD, MS; Edmondson, Donald PhD, MPH; Wasson, Lauren Taggart MD, MPH; Falzon, Louise PGDipInf; Homma, Kirsten BA; Ezeokoli, Nchedcochukwu; Li, Peter BA; Davidson, Karina W. PhD

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Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to review the effects of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms in randomized controlled trials. Although low vitamin D levels have been observationally associated with depressive symptoms, the effect of vitamin D supplementation as an antidepressant remains uncertain.

Methods: MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED, PsycINFO, Scopus, The Cochrane Library, and references of included reports (through May 2013) were searched. Two independent reviewers identified and extracted data from randomized trials that compared the effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms to a control condition. Two additional reviewers assessed study quality using The Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool. Seven trials (3191 participants) were included.

Results: Vitamin D supplementation had no overall effect on depressive symptoms (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.33 to 0.05, p = .16), although considerable heterogeneity was observed. Subgroup analysis showed that vitamin D supplementation for participants with clinically significant depressive symptoms or depressive disorder had a moderate, statistically significant effect (2 studies: SMD, −0.60; 95% CI, −1.19 to −0.01; p = .046), but a small, nonsignificant effect for those without clinically significant depression (5 studies: SMD, −0.04; 95% CI, −0.20 to 0.12; p = .61). Most trials had unclear or high risk of bias. Studies varied in the amount, frequency, duration, and mode of delivery of vitamin D supplementation.

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation may be effective for reducing depressive symptoms in patients with clinically significant depression; however, further high-quality research is needed.

Copyright © 2014 by American Psychosomatic Society

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