This evidence summary was written by:

William B. Grant, Ph.D.
Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center (SUNARC)
P.O. Box 641603
San Francisco, CA 94164-1603, USA       
[email protected]

Complete bibliography of research used in this summary

We found a significant body of evidence when researching the role of vitamin D in depression. The research we have cited in our summary is listed below, with links to PubMed abstracts and full-text for those who wish to explore further.


Page last edited: 06 May 2011


  1. Aina, Y. Susman, J. L. Understanding comorbidity with depression and anxiety disorders. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006 May; 106 (5 Suppl 2): S9-14.
  2. Angst, J. Angst, F. Stassen, H. H. Suicide risk in patients with major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 1999; 60 Suppl 257-62; discussion 75-6, 113-6.
  3. Armstrong, D. J. Meenagh, G. K. Bickle, I. Lee, A. S. Curran, E. S. Finch, M. B. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Apr; 26 (4): 551-4.
  4. Barnard, K. Colon-Emeric, C. Extraskeletal effects of vitamin D in older adults: cardiovascular disease, mortality, mood, and cognition. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2010 Feb; 8 (1): 4-33.
  5. Berk, M. Sanders, K. M. Pasco, J. A. Jacka, F. N. Williams, L. J. Hayles, A. L. Dodd, S. Vitamin D deficiency may play a role in depression. Med Hypotheses. 2007; 69 (6): 1316-9.
  6. Bertone-Johnson, E. R. Vitamin D and the occurrence of depression: causal association or circumstantial evidence?. Nutr Rev. 2009 Aug; 67 (8): 481-92.
  7. Caraci, F. Copani, A. Nicoletti, F. Drago, F. Depression and Alzheimer's disease: neurobiological links and common pharmacological targets. Eur J Pharmacol. 2010 Jan 10; 626 (1): 64-71.
  8. Cherniack, E. P. Troen, B. R. Florez, H. J. Roos, B. A. Levis, S. Some new food for thought: the role of vitamin D in the mental health of older adults. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2009 Feb; 11 (1): 12-9.
  9. Dowlati, Y. Herrmann, N. Swardfager, W. Liu, H. Sham, L. Reim, E. K. Lanctot, K. L. A meta-analysis of cytokines in major depression. Biological psychiatry. 2010 Mar 1; 67 (5): 446-57.
  10. Ganji, V. Milone, C. Cody, M. M. McCarthy, F. Wang, Y. T. Serum vitamin D concentrations are related to depression in young adult US population: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Int Arch Med. 2010 Nov 11; 3 (1): 29.
  11. Gildengers, A. G. Whyte, E. M. Drayer, R. A. Soreca, I. Fagiolini, A. Kilbourne, A. M. Houck, P. R. Reynolds, C. F., 3rd Frank, E. Kupfer, D. J. Mulsant, B. H. Medical burden in late-life bipolar and major depressive disorders. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Mar; 16 (3): 194-200.
  12. Grant, W. B. Does vitamin D reduce the risk of dementia?. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 May; 17 (1): 151-9.
  13. Guillot, X. Semerano, L. Saidenberg-Kermanac'h, N. Falgarone, G. Boissier, M. C. Vitamin D and inflammation. Joint, bone, spine : revue du rhumatisme. 2010 Dec; 77 (6): 552-7.
  14. Hoogendijk, W. J. Lips, P. Dik, M. G. Deeg, D. J. Beekman, A. T. Penninx, B. W. Depression is associated with decreased 25-hydroxyvitamin D and increased parathyroid hormone levels in older adults. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008 May; 65 (5): 508-12.
  15. Humble, M. B. Vitamin D, light and mental health. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2010 Nov 3; 101 (2): 142-9.
  16. Humble, M. B. Gustafsson, S. Bejerot, S. Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) among psychiatric out-patients in Sweden: relations with season, age, ethnic origin and psychiatric diagnosis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Jul; 121 (1-2): 467-70.
  17. Jorde, R. Sneve, M. Figenschau, Y. Svartberg, J. Waterloo, K. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial. J Intern Med. 2008 Dec; 264 (6): 599-609.
  18. Kilzieh, N. Rastam, S. Maziak, W. Ward, K. D. Comorbidity of depression with chronic diseases: a population-based study in Aleppo, Syria. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2008; 38 (2): 169-84.
  19. Knippenberg, S. Bol, Y. Damoiseaux, J. Hupperts, R. Smolders, J. Vitamin D status in patients with MS is negatively correlated with depression, but not with fatigue. Acta Neurol Scand. 2010 Sep 29;
  20. Kohn, R. Epstein-Lubow, G. Course and outcomes of depression in the elderly. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006 Feb; 8 (1): 34-40.
  21. Kuningas, M. Mooijaart, S. P. Jolles, J. Slagboom, P. E. Westendorp, R. G. van Heemst, D. VDR gene variants associate with cognitive function and depressive symptoms in old age. Neurobiol Aging. 2009 Mar; 30 (3): 466-73.
  22. Lansdowne, A. T. Provost, S. C. Vitamin D3 enhances mood in healthy subjects during winter. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998 Feb; 135 (4): 319-23.
  23. Lawrynowicz, A. E. Baker, T. D. Suicide and latitude in Argentina: Durkheim upside-down. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 May; 162 (5): 1022.
  24. Lee, D. M. Tajar, A. O'Neill, T. W. O'Connor, D. B. Bartfai, G. Boonen, S. Bouillon, R. Casanueva, F. F. Finn, J. D. Forti, G. Giwercman, A. Han, T. S. Huhtaniemi, I. T. Kula, K. Lean, M. E. Punab, M. Silman, A. J. Vanderschueren, D. Wu, F. C. Pendleton, N. Lower vitamin D levels are associated with depression among community-dwelling European men. J Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep 7;
  25. Leonard, B. E. The concept of depression as a dysfunction of the immune system. Current immunology reviews. 2010 Aug; 6 (3): 205-212.
  26. Levitan, R. D. The chronobiology and neurobiology of winter seasonal affective disorder. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2007; 9 (3): 315-24.
  27. Lin, E. H. Rutter, C. M. Katon, W. Heckbert, S. R. Ciechanowski, P. Oliver, M. M. Ludman, E. J. Young, B. A. Williams, L. H. McCulloch, D. K. Von Korff, M. Depression and advanced complications of diabetes: a prospective cohort study. Diabetes Care. 2010 Feb; 33 (2): 264-9.
  28. Maletic, V. Raison, C. L. Neurobiology of depression, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. Front Biosci. 2009; 145291-338.
  29. Marano, G. Harnic, D. Lotrionte, M. Biondi-Zoccai, G. Abbate, A. Romagnoli, E. Mazza, M. Depression and the cardiovascular system: increasing evidence of a link and therapeutic implications. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2009 Sep; 7 (9): 1123-47.
  30. May, H. T. Bair, T. L. Lappe, D. L. Anderson, J. L. Horne, B. D. Carlquist, J. F. Muhlestein, J. B. Association of vitamin D levels with incident depression among a general cardiovascular population. Am Heart J. 2010 Jun; 159 (6): 1037-43.
  31. McCann, J. C. Ames, B. N. Is there convincing biological or behavioral evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction?. FASEB J. 2008 Apr; 22 (4): 982-1001.
  32. Medved, V. Jovanovic, N. Knapic, V. P. The comorbidity of diabetes mellitus and psychiatric disorders. Psychiatr Danub. 2009 Dec; 21 (4): 585-8.
  33. Milaneschi, Y. Shardell, M. Corsi, A. M. Vazzana, R. Bandinelli, S. Guralnik, J. M. Ferrucci, L. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and depressive symptoms in older women and men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jul; 95 (7): 3225-33.
  34. Murphy, P. K. Wagner, C. L. Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008 September; 53 (5): 440-446.
  35. Nanri, A. Mizoue, T. Matsushita, Y. Poudel-Tandukar, K. Sato, M. Ohta, M. Mishima, N. Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and depressive symptoms in Japanese: analysis by survey season. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Dec; 63 (12): 1444-7.
  36. Pan, A. Lu, L. Franco, O. H. Yu, Z. Li, H. Lin, X. Association between depressive symptoms and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in middle-aged and elderly Chinese. J Affect Disord. 2009 Nov; 118 (1-3): 240-3.
  37. Paparrigopoulos, T. Ferentinos, P. Kouzoupis, A. Koutsis, G. Papadimitriou, G. N. The neuropsychiatry of multiple sclerosis: focus on disorders of mood, affect and behaviour. International review of psychiatry. 2010; 22 (1): 14-21.
  38. Penckofer, S. Kouba, J. Byrn, M. Estwing Ferrans, C. Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010 Jun; 31 (6): 385-93.
  39. Schneider, B. Weber, B. Frensch, A. Stein, J. Fritz, J. Vitamin D in schizophrenia, major depression and alcoholism. J Neural Transm. 2000; 107 (7): 839-42.
  40. Sher, Y. Lolak, S. Maldonado, J. R. The impact of depression in heart disease. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2010 Jun; 12 (3): 255-64.
  41. Shipowick, C. D. Moore, C. B. Corbett, C. Bindler, R. Vitamin D and depressive symptoms in women during the winter: a pilot study. Appl Nurs Res. 2009 Aug; 22 (3): 221-5.
  42. Silverman, S. L. Shen, W. Minshall, M. E. Xie, S. Moses, K. H. Prevalence of depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density and/or prevalent vertebral fracture: results from the Multiple Outcomes of Raloxifene Evaluation (MORE) study. J Rheumatol. 2007 Jan; 34 (1): 140-4.
  43. Smolders, J. Thewissen, M. Peelen, E. Menheere, P. Tervaert, J. W. Damoiseaux, J. Hupperts, R. Vitamin D status is positively correlated with regulatory T cell function in patients with multiple sclerosis. PLoS One. 2009; 4 (8): e6635.
  44. Spoletini, I. Gianni, W. Repetto, L. Bria, P. Caltagirone, C. Bossu, P. Spalletta, G. Depression and cancer: an unexplored and unresolved emergent issue in elderly patients. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2008 Feb; 65 (2): 143-55.
  45. Stewart, R. Hirani, V. Relationship between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in older residents from a national survey population. Psychosom Med. 2010 Sep; 72 (7): 608-12.
  46. Takasaki, Y. Kawakami, N. Tsuchiya, M. Ono, Y. Nakane, Y. Nakamura, Y. Tachimori, H. Iwata, N. Uda, H. Nakane, H. Watanabe, M. Naganuma, Y. Furukawa, T. Hata, Y. Kobayashi, M. Miyake, Y. Takeshima, T. Kikkawa, T. Heart disease, other circulatory diseases, and onset of major depression among community residents in Japan: results of the World Mental Health Survey Japan 2002-2004. Acta Med Okayama. 2008 Aug; 62 (4): 241-9.
  47. Vogelzangs, N. Seldenrijk, A. Beekman, A. T. van Hout, H. P. de Jonge, P. Penninx, B. W. Cardiovascular disease in persons with depressive and anxiety disorders. J Affect Disord. 2010 Sep; 125 (1-3): 241-8.
  48. Weller, E. B. Weller, R. A. Kloos, A. L. Hitchcock, S. Kim, W. J. Zemel, B. Impact of depression and its treatment on the bones of growing children. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2007 Apr; 9 (2): 94-8.
  49. Wulsin, L. R. Vaillant, G. E. Wells, V. E. A systematic review of the mortality of depression. Psychosom Med. 1999 Jan-Feb; 61 (1): 6-17.
  50. Yamanaka, G. Otsuka, K. Hotta, N. Murakami, S. Kubo, Y. Matsuoka, O. Takasugi, E. Yamanaka, T. Shinagawa, M. Nunoda, S. Nishimura, Y. Shibata, K. Saitoh, H. Nishinaga, M. Ishine, M. Wada, T. Okumiya, K. Matsubayashi, K. Yano, S. Ishizuka, S. Ichihara, K. Cornelissen, G. Halberg, F. Depressive mood is independently related to stroke and cardiovascular events in a community. Biomed Pharmacother. 2005 Oct; 59 Suppl 1S31-9.
  51. Zeugmann, S. Quante, A. Heuser, I. Schwarzer, R. Anghelescu, I. Inflammatory biomarkers in 70 depressed inpatients with and without the metabolic syndrome. J Clin Psychiatry. 2010 Aug; 71 (8): 1007-16.
  52. Zhao, G. Ford, E. S. Li, C. Balluz, L. S. No associations between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and parathyroid hormone and depression among US adults. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec; 104 (11): 1696-702.
  53. Zittermann, A. Frisch, S. Berthold, H. K. Gotting, C. Kuhn, J. Kleesiek, K. Stehle, P. Koertke, H. Koerfer, R. Vitamin D supplementation enhances the beneficial effects of weight loss on cardiovascular disease risk markers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May; 89 (5): 1321-7.