Washington: A new study has found that lack of Vitamin D is not only harmful for physical health, but it may also impact mental health, leading to depression.
According to Alan Stewart of the University of Georgia College of Education, rather than being one of many factors, vitamin D could have a regulative role in the development of SAD.
Stewart and Michael Kimlin from Queensland University of Technology School of conducted a review of more than 100 leading articles and found a relationship between vitamin D and seasonal depression.
Stewart said that seasonal affective disorder is believed to affect up to 10 percent of the population, depending upon geographical location, and is a type of depression related to changes in season. People with SAD have the same symptoms every year, starting in fall and continuing through the winter months.
Stewart said, based on the team's investigations, vitamin D was likely to be a contributing factor in seasonal depression.
Kimlin added that evidence exists that low levels of dopamine and serotonin were linked to depression, therefore it was logical that there may be a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms. Studies have also found depressed patients commonly had lower levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D levels varied according to the pigmentation of skin. People with dark skin often record lower levels of vitamin D, and hence people with greater skin pigmentation may experience not only higher risks of vitamin D deficiency, but also be at greater risk of psychological and psychiatric conditions, said Kimlin.
He also said that adequate levels of vitamin D were essential in maintaining bone health, with deficiency causing osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. Vitamin D levels of more than 50 nanomoles per liter are recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.
The study is published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.