Background: Although low vitamin D is associated with depression, its effect on maternal depression (depression during or after pregnancy) isn’t totally clear. What does the literature show overall?
The study: This meta-analysis included 12 observational studies that explored the relationship between blood levels of vitamin D (25-OH-vitamin D) and depression during and after pregnancy. Subgroup analyses were performed based on factors such as age, race, season, latitude, and depression measurement tool.
The results: The participants with the highest vitamin D levels had 51% lower odds of developing maternal depression than the participants with the lowest vitamin D levels. More specifically, the odds of developing antepartum and postpartum depression were 49% and 52% lower, respectively. The risk of maternal depression was lowest with vitamin D levels between 90 and 110 nmol/L. The subgroup analyses didn’t alter the findings.
Note: While low vitamin D is associated with the etiology and manifestation of depression, it isn’t likely to ever be the sole cause of a depression. Supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing depression; it cannot eliminate it.
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