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In women with PCOS, vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for depression

Posted on: September 12, 2014   by  Vitamin D Council


A new study published in Archives of Women’s Mental Health suggests vitamin D deficiency may be a modifiable risk factor for depressive symptoms in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This imbalance may lead to irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, excess hair, acne, and obesity.

PCOS does not only affect a person physically, but can also severely affect a person psychologically. Depression is common in women with PCOS, with a prevalence rate of around 40%.

Vitamin D deficiency has repeatedly been linked to both PCOS and depression. However, previous studies have not evaluated the effects of vitamin D deficiency on depression among women with PCOS.

Researchers recently conducted a study to assess the predictors of depressive symptoms among 114 women with PCOS.

They evaluated the participants’ personal history of depression, family history of depression, severity of abnormal facial and body hair growth, sleep disturbances, acne, vitamin D status, and depressive symptoms.

Depressive symptoms were apparent in 43% of the participants. They found that vitamin D status and depressive symptoms showed an inverse relationship, meaning lower vitamin D levels were related to increased severity of depressive symptoms. However, this relationship was only seen in participants with vitamin D deficiency (less than or equal to 30 ng/ml).

The researchers concluded, “Although our data suggest that vitamin D deficiency may be a potentially modifiable risk factor for depressive symptoms in women with PCOS, the study design does not allow us to comment on a cause-effect nature to the observed relationship.”


Naqvi S, et al. Predictors of depression in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 2014.

1 Response to In women with PCOS, vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for depression

  1. Rita and Misty

    I could write volumes on this topic, if only I had the time. But alas, we all lead such very busy lives nowadays–I am no exception here.

    So briefly:

    I recommend anyone who suffers from PCOS to investigate whether they also suffer from thyroid imbalance.

    I also recommend that those who suffer from thyroid imbalance and other hormonal issues–like PCOS, fibrocystic breast disease, breast cancer, fibroids and endometriosis–investigate iodine supplementation in conjunction with vitamin D supplementation.

    Dr. David Brownstein wrote a good book on this subject, “Iodine, Why we need it, Why we can’t live without it.”

    Of course, the vitamin D cofactors are very helpful–these being magnesium, boron, zinc and K.
    Iodine also has its own set of cofactors–especially important with iodine is selenium.

    Working with a holistically-bent physician, it is possible to control both hyper and hypo thyroid disease with appropriate iodine/vitamin D3 supplementation.

    I consider Iodine and vitamin D plus selenium to be a powerful force with respect to hormonal health.

    The thyroid gland is one of the master glands; and if it is out of balance then the entire body will be out of balance, in my opinion.

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