Vitamin D and Mood Disorders Among Women: An Integrative Review

Pamela K. Murphy, CNM, MS, IBCLC; Carol L. Wagner, MD

Disclosures

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008;53(5):440-446. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

This integrative review evaluates research studies that investigated the association between vitamin D and mood disorders affecting women to determine whether further research comparing these variables is warranted. A literature search using CINAHL, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and PubMed databases was conducted to locate peer-reviewed mood disorder research studies that measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels. Four of six studies reviewed imparted significant results, with all four showing an association between low 25(OH)D levels and higher incidences of four mood disorders: premenstrual syndrome, seasonal affective disorder, non-specified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder. This review indicates a possible biochemical mechanism occurring between vitamin D and mood disorders affecting women, warranting further studies of these variables using rigorous methodologies.

Vitamin D not only is integral to maintaining bone health, but it also plays a role in several other biochemical mechanisms within the human body. Vitamin D receptors are located in bone, skeletal muscle, immune cells, and several body tissues, including the brain, prostate, breast, and colon. The associated cell signaling by vitamin D may account for the mounting evidence that links vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for a variety of diseases, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, bone disease, cardiovascular disease, and mood disorders.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7] This article reviews the sources and physiology of vitamin D, followed by an overview of the association between vitamin D deficiency and several disease processes, with an emphasis on the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and mood disorders affecting women.

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