A new study indicates low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor to depression.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern medical Center, analyzed information on the vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms of almost 12,600 participants from 2006 to 2010, finding that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people who’d experienced depression before, while low vitamin D levels were associated with having more depressive symptoms.

Researchers feel these discoveries, published in the November issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, could help doctors more accurately assess depressed patients.

In a statement, Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said in part, “screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients — and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels — might be useful.”

But since the study didn’t address whether increasing vitamin D levels could actually reduce depressive symptoms, he added, “We don’t have enough information yet to recommend going out and taking supplements.”

Vitamin D is commonly found in sunlight, salmon, tuna, mackerel, orange juice, and eggs.

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