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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency, in an increasingly modernized world, is a major global health issue and so is major depressive disorder (MDD) and its high fatality risk. Studies suggest that there may be a connection between the two. Several studies have found a connection between low levels of vitamin D and higher rates of major depressive disorder, depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. Specifically, lower concentrations of vitamin D was seen in the subgroup of patients with suicidal thoughts when comparing with non-suicidal depressed patients. A likely reason for this may be the well- researched role vitamin D plays in regulation of inflammatory cytokine markers in the brain. Elevation of these proinflammatory cytokines is shown to be a major contributing factor to depression and suicidality. Therefore, a lack of vitamin D contributes to an increase in inflammation and thereby an increase in the risk of depression and suicide. Thus, increasing vitamin D levels by supplementation or sun exposure, may decrease depressive symptoms. Because this research is recent, there are few studies assessing the possible benefits and limitations of using vitamin D as a treatment method.

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