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

Implications for Practice

Despite these limitations, the findings of these studies indicate that serum 25(OH)D levels may be related to mood disorders, indicating that some biologic mechanism may exist between these two variables in women. This could be related to the location of vitamin D receptors within the brain. If vitamin D levels are deficient, the receptors are not filled adequately, which may interfere with proper functioning of hormonal processes that prevent disease within the brain, such as mood disorders.[3] If research can identify factors such as vitamin D deficiency that lead to mood disorders, then primary prevention may be an option.

Nurse-midwives and women's health providers encounter the issue of depression daily in clinical practice. It is essential not only to identify women at risk for mood disorders, but also to use our knowledge of potential preventative factors to prevent the mood disorders that can affect a woman's daily life and interpersonal relationships. While the studies reviewed conclude that decreased serum 25(OH)D levels may be linked to some mood disorders, change in clinical practice recommendations of vitamin D supplementation to prevent these disorders is not warranted until further methodologically rigorous studies are completed to determine if vitamin D deficiency is a possible risk factor for mood disorders in women. However, it is fair to say that given the mounting evidence about vitamin D deficiency, every effort should be made to ensure that an individual's 25(OH)D level is in the normal range.[1,21]


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