We Are Sunshine

Low Vitamin D Levels Now Linked to Depression in the Elderly

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Older people with lower vitamin D levels are at a greater risk for depression, according to a new study.

The web site reported Thursday that research published in Science Daily found that vitamin D deficiency triggers higher blood levels of parathyroid hormone, which is believed to cause depression. According to the web site, 13 percent of senior citizens over 65 are depressed.

2008-05-09-depressing-deficiency-tanningnews-copy.jpgThe new study, conducted by a research team in Amsterdam, studied 1,282 seniors aged 65-95. According to, “169 had a minor depressive illness and 26 were majorly depressed. Those with depression were found to have 14 per cent lesser vitamin D in their blood levels. Over half of the women and 38.8 per cent of the men studied had insufficient vitamin D levels.”

The research team told that “Decreased vitamin intake may be secondary to depression, but depression may also be the consequence of poor vitamin D status.”

Vitamin D is made naturally when humans are exposed to UVB in sunlight. Science has also linked UVB exposure to endorphin production in the body – another mechanism by which sunlight is linked to good mental health.

“Decreased outdoor activity and different housing or clothing habits were all believed to decrease vitamin D,” wrote. “However, a healthy dose of sun exposure can relieve minor feelings of depression.”