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Vitamin D testing may benefit children who are showing signs of depression, as a new study has linked the mood disorder to low levels of the nutrient.
The University of Bristol study is not the first to show an association between depression and vitamin D deficiency. Numerous studies have indicated that the nutrient may play an important role in mood. However, the new findings are among the first to suggest that these problems can start at a relatively young age.
For the study, researchers examined data collected as part of the Children of the 90s study, which has tracked the health of 14,500 British youth since the middle of the 1990s. The results showed that those who had lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to show symptoms of depression.
The researchers said it is too early to recommend revising nutritional recommendations or suggest that parents provide supplements to their children. However, the findings do point to a need to investigate the potential connection further.
"Given the importance of depression in childhood and adolescence and the relative ease with which vitamin D levels could be increased with supplements, randomized controlled trials to assess its effectiveness in preventing depressive symptoms would be appropriate," said Anna-Maija Tolppanen, who led the study.
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