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Depression and vitamin D deficiency

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Domina Petric
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of recurrent depressive or bipolar disorder that is characterized by episodes of major depression that tend to recur during winter usually. Vitamin D is important for serotonin synthesis and low serotonin levels are thought to be associated with depression. During the winter, levels of vitamin D are lower, what might precipitate depression symptoms in individuals with SAD, but it might also be relevant for other depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. Patients with depression may benefit from vitamin D supplements, especially during the late autumn and winter when sunlight-induced vitamin D production is lower, and diet enriched with tryptophan. Vitamin D supplements may be beneficial in depressed patients with high inflammatory biomarkers because studies have shown that inflammation can produce depression in vulnerable individuals by lowering plasma tryptophan and diminishing brain serotonin activity. Vitamin D supplements may also improve the efficacy of SSRIs in these patients.
Domina Petric
added a research item
Vitamin D deficiency may be associated with psychiatric illnesses, especially with winter depression (SAD). Light therapy is found to improve the production of vitamin D in the patients with seasonal depression.Vitamin D is also important for serotonin synthesis. Brain serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan by tryptophan hydroxylase 2. Tryptophan hydroxylase is transcriptionally activated by vitamin D hormone. Serotonin regulates a variety of cognitive functions: mood, decisionmaking, social behavior, excessive worry and impulse control. Depression is thought to be associated with lower serotonin levels.