BACKGROUND: Vitamin D deficiency is a universal risk factor for adverse health outcomes. Since depression is consistently associated with low vitamin D levels as well as several adverse health outcomes, vitamin D supplementation may be especially relevant for depressed persons. This review examines the potential benefits of vitamin D for (somatic) health outcomes in randomised controlled supplementation trials for depression.
METHOD: Systematic literature search to assess whether adverse health outcomes, such as frailty, falls, or cognitive functioning, were included in vitamin D supplementation trials for depression, and whether these outcomes were affected by supplementation. The revised Cochrane tool for assessing risk of bias in randomised trials was used.
RESULTS: Thirty-one trials were included. Adverse health outcomes were considered in five studies. Two studies reported some beneficial effect on an adverse health outcome.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: While depressed persons are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, supplementation trials hardly addressed the common negative health consequences of low vitamin D levels as secondary outcome measures. Well-designed trials of the effects of vitamin D supplementation in late-life depression should explore whether adverse health outcomes can be prevented or stabilised, and whether depression benefits from this improvement.
- Depression/drug therapy
- Dietary Supplements
- Outcome Assessment, Health Care
- Vitamin D
- Vitamins/therapeutic use