Vitamin D and Mood Disorders Among Women: An Integrative Review

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


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.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.