Depression and pain can both be signs of vitamin D deficiency, research suggests.
As well as low mood, the most important symptoms of depression are:
- Decreased interest in life.
- Energy loss.
- Concentration problems.
People in the study reported pains such as:
- Neuropathic pain, including shooting or burning sensations in their legs and feet (61 percent).
- Sensory pain such as numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers and legs (74 percent).
Both depression and pain were reduced after participants were given vitamin D2 supplementation.
Some studies estimate that up to 70 percent of people could have a vitamin D deficiency.
The study, which lasted six months, included women with type 2 diabetes.
Dr Todd Doyle, the study’s first author, said:
“Pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression.
While further research is needed, D2 supplementation is a promising treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 diabetes.”
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more Northern climes.
Professor Sue Penckofer said:
“Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.”
Other disease linked to vitamin D deficiency include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The study was presented at a research conference at Loyola University Chicago’s Health Sciences Campus (Doyle et al., 2013).