Category: Depression

    Common Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Depression in Women

    Common Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Depression in Women

    Very common vitamin deficiency linked to higher levels of depression

    Almost half of young women have insufficient vitamin D levels, which is linked to depression.

    The new study also found that over one-third of young women had signs of clinical depression. Dr David Kerr, the psychologist who led the study, said:

    “Depression has multiple, powerful causes and if vitamin D is part of the picture, it is just a small part.

    But given how many people are affected by depression, any little inroad we can find could have an important impact on public health.”

    While many suspect a link between the vitamin deficiency and depression, studies have not often confirmed it. Dr Kerr continued:

    “The new study was prompted in part because there is a widely held belief that vitamin D and depression are connected, but there is not actually much scientific research out there to support the belief.

    I think people hear that vitamin D and depression can change with the seasons, so it is natural for them to assume the two are connected.”

    Vitamin Deficiency

    To test the link researchers recruited 185 female college students between the ages of 18-25. The study focused on women because they are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression. Their vitamin D levels were measured from their blood. Depression symptoms were checked every week for five weeks.

    The results showed that women of colour had particularly high vitamin deficiency for vitamin D, with 61% being deficient. This compared to low vitamin D levels in 35% of other women.

    Vitamin D is important for both mental and physical health. Physically, it has been linked to better bone health, muscle function, and cardiovascular health.

    Vitamin D is created in the body with exposure to sunlight. It is also found in some foods, such as milk, eggs and oily fish.

    Dr Kerr concluded:

    “Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available.

    They certainly shouldn’t be considered as alternatives to the treatments known to be effective for depression, but they are good for overall health.”

    The vitamin deficiency study is published in the journal Psychiatry Research (Kerr et al., 2015)

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    This Supplement May Stop Sadness Becoming Depression

    stop sadness becoming depressionProbiotics may stop sadness becoming depression by helping people let go of the past, a new study has discovered.

    Researchers at the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition found that probiotics stopped people ruminating so much.

    Rumination is when people focus on bad experiences and feelings from the past. Dr Laura Steenbergen, the study’s first author, said:

    “Rumination is one of the most predictive vulnerability markers of depression. Persistent ruminative thoughts often precede and predict episodes of depression.”

    In the study 40 people were given a sachet to take with water or milk every day for four weeks. Half of the people received sachets that contained a multispecies probiotic. The other half received a placebo for the four weeks. Before and afterwards people’s so-called ‘cognitive reactivity’ was measured.

    ‘Cognitive reactivity’ is the extent to which a sad mood can turn into something more serious.

    The authors explained the results:

    “…in the probiotics supplementation condition participants perceived themselves to be less distracted by aggressive and ruminative thoughts when in a sad mood.”

    In other words, when people felt sad, those taking the probiotics ruminated less. The authors write:

    “…studies have shown that the tendency to engage in ruminative thoughts is sufficient to turn mood fluctuations into depressive episodes, and that individuals who typically respond to low mood by ruminating about possible causes and consequences of their state have more difficulties in recovering from depression.”

    Probiotics have been increasingly linked to good mental health. But this is the first study to identify this specific link. Dr Lorenza Colzato, another of the study’s authors, said:

    “Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood.

    As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.”

    The research is published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (Steenbergen et al., 2015).