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.”