Vitamin D was not more effective than placebo for depression

American scientists have been unable to prove the effectiveness of long-term administration of vitamin D3 for prevention of depression in the elderly. To do this, scientists analyzed data on the mental health of more than 18 thousand people, who for five years daily took either vitamins or a placebo. And in that, and in the other group the number of people with diagnosed depression or symptoms of the disorder were not statistically different. Article published in JAMA Network.

The main function of vitamin D in the human body is considered to be maintaining the required level of calcium — due to its binding with magnesium in the gastrointestinal tract. For example, in children the deficiency of vitamin D (in particular, the most common — D3) — one of the main reasons for the development of rickets.

Lack of vitamin D, in turn — quite a common problem for residents of countries with a temperate climate: the main source of vitamin for human exposure to direct sunlight. In case of deficiency, vitamin D3 are advised to take advanced — in the form of supplements or foods rich in them. But some studies indicate that just the additional intake of vitamin D at least in diseases of the bones useless.

We cannot exclude that under some conditions and diseases fill the lack of vitamins in the body can actually help. Olivia band composed of Kele Okereke (Okereke, Olivia) from the Massachusetts General hospital and her colleagues decided to test whether the intake of extra vitamin D3 to help with depression: its deficiency is often associated with the development of affective disorders, particularly in the elderly.

In the study, researchers took part 18353 person over the age of 50 years: approximately 1.6 thousand of them were already diagnosed with depression before the study began. Participants were divided into two groups: the first group was prescribed a daily intake of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the dosage of 2,000 international units (approximately equal to 50 micrograms), while the second group was prescribed a placebo. Drugs participants took on average over five years; the scientists also annually update information about the participants ‘ health — it (along with demographic data) was considered as side variables.

At the end of the study among participants who took vitamin D3, scientists registered the 609 people diagnosed with depression or depressive symptoms, among participants of the control group was 625. The difference between the groups was statistically insignificant (p = 0,62).

The authors concluded that taking vitamin D group additionally in the elderly can be useless — at least for the prevention of depression. Of course, this is not talking about the General uselessness of the substance: the attending physician may prescribe it to prevent bone disease or metabolic disorders.

In General, vitamins and other active food additives in medical environment is not very good reputation. Many researchers believe that they are useless and can even be potentially dangerous: at least held two years ago, the meta-analysis indicated that vitamins and dietary Supplements do not affect the risk of premature death and developing cardiovascular disease. However, according to the same analysis, it may be useful to folic acid: it reduces the risk of stroke.

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