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

Vitamin D Status

Vitamin D status is determined by assessing serum levels of 25(OH)D after a 3-month period of a stable regimen of vitamin D intake.[18,19,20] Serum 25(OH)D is used to measure vitamin D status because it is the major circulating form of vitamin D and the most stable form of vitamin D.[13] Vitamin D deficiency is defined as circulating 25(OH)D levels below 20 ng/mL, while insufficiency is defined by levels below 32 ng/mL.[1,21]

According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III data[8] that used a conservative measure of vitamin D deficiency (25[OH]D) levels <15 ng/mL], 42.4% of African American women and 4.2% of white women are deficient in vitamin D during their childbearing years. At our own center, a study of pregnant women enrolled in our ongoing vitamin D supplementation trials confirms the vitamin D deficiency epidemic. Of the 694 pregnant women enrolled, 74% of African American, 32% of Hispanic, 50% of Asian, and 13% of white women were vitamin D deficient (serum 25[OH]D <20 ng/mL; P<.0001).[9] When including those who had evidence of deficiency or insufficiency (25[OH]D <32 ng/mL), 97% of African American, 79% of Hispanic, 100% of Asian, and 68% of white women were either deficient or insufficient.[9] Overall, 288 (42%) of the women were deficient and 571 (82%) of the women in this population were at least vitamin D insufficient.[9]

Toxic states (hypervitaminosis D) may occur when 25(OH)D levels supersede 100 ng/mL; however, in a study involving individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis treated with high doses of vitamin D, there was no evidence of toxicity found in individuals with 25(OH)D levels above 200 ng/mL.[21,22]


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