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Effect of vitamin D supplementation on depression in older Australian adults


Rahman, ST and Waterhouse, M and Duarte Romero, B and Baxter, C and English, DR and Almeida, OP and Berk, M and Ebeling, PR and Armstrong, BK and McLeod, DSA and Hartel, G and O'Connell, RL and Pham, H and Scott, JG and van der Pols, JC and Venn, AJ and Webb, PM and Whiteman, DC and Neale, RE, Effect of vitamin D supplementation on depression in older Australian adults, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 38, (1) pp. 1-13. ISSN 0885-6230 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.

DOI: doi:10.1002/gps.5847


Objectives: To investigate whether vitamin D supplementation reduces depressive symptoms and incidence of antidepressant use.

Methods: We used data from the D-Health Trial (N = 21,315), a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of monthly vitamin D3 for the prevention of all-cause mortality. Participants were Australians aged 60-84 years. Participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) at 1, 2 and 5 years after randomization to measure depressive symptoms; national prescribing records were used to capture antidepressant use. We used mixed models and survival models.

Results: Analyses of PHQ-9 scores included 20,487 participants (mean age 693 years, 46% women); the mean difference (MD) in PHQ-9 score (vitamin D vs. placebo) was 002 (95% CI -006, 011). There was negligible difference in the prevalence of clinically relevant depression (PHQ-9 score ≥10) (odds ratio 099; 95% CI 090, 108). We included 16,670 participants in the analyses of incident antidepressant use (mean age 694 years, 43% women). Incidence of antidepressant use was similar between the groups (hazard ratio [HR] 104; 95% CI 096, 112). In subgroup analyses, vitamin D improved PHQ-9 scores in those taking antidepressants at baseline (MD -025; 95% CI -049, -001; p-interaction = 002). It decreased risk of antidepressant use in participants with predicted 25(OH)D concentration <50 nmol/L (HR 088; 95% CI 075, 102; p-interaction = 001) and increased risk in those with predicted 25(OH)D ≥ 50 nmol/L (HR 110; 95% CI 101, 120).

Conclusion: Monthly supplementation with high-dose vitamin D3 was not of benefit for measures of depression overall, but there was some evidence of benefit in subgroup analyses.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:antidepressants, depression, mental disorders, PHQ&#8208;9, prevention, randomized controlled trial, vitamin D supplementation
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Endocrinology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Prevention of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Venn, AJ (Professor Alison Venn)
ID Code:155431
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2023-02-20
Last Modified:2023-03-21
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