Vit D not such a happy drug after all

Poor mental health can no longer be blamed on low vitamin D levels or sun exposure, according to Australian research.

An observational study by the Royal Women's Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne has found no association between depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms or psychological distress and vitamin D status.

The findings contradict other research that suggests low levels of vitamin D is linked to depression.

In the current study, known as Safe-D, researchers investigated links between mental health and vitamin D among 353 women aged 16-25 living in Victoria.

Lead author Professor John Wark reports the research has "unexpectedly" ruled this association out for the general population.

However, it could not rule out the possibility of a link with severe vitamin D deficiency and a number of health outcomes, he notes.

Participants completed a series of online questionnaires used by mental health researchers and wore a UV dosimeter to measure personal sun exposure. They also underwent a comprehensive health assessment of their medical history.

A total of 90 women, 26%, reported a previous diagnosis of a mental disorder. The main diagnosis was depression, followed by anxiety.

A quarter, 25%, were found to be vitamin D deficient, 2.5% were severely deficient. Vitamin D levels below 100nmol/L is considered deficient.

"There was no association between vitamin D status and the presence of a previous diagnosis of any mental health disorder, nor specifically of depression or anxiety,” the authors write.

“Likewise, there was no association found between vitamin D status and severity of symptoms.”