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As people age, vitamin D testing tends to show they are deficient, and research has shown this leaves them vulnerable to a wide range of health concerns. One new study has found that vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression in the elderly.
A team of researchers from the National Institute on Aging followed a group of seniors for a period of six years. They found that women who started the study with low levels of the vitamin were twice as likely to become depressed as women with healthy levels. The numbers were similar for men, as well.
Dr Luigi Ferrucci said in his report that many seniors struggle with depression, which can have a range of negative health effects, and that vitamin D could be an effective way to treat the problem.
"Preventing vitamin D deficiency in the elderly may become in the future a strategy to prevent the development of depressive moods and avoid its deleterious consequences on health," he said. "In addition, normalization of vitamin D levels may be part of any depression treatment plans in older patients."
Despite accounting for just 12 percent of the population, people age 65 and older account for 16 percent of suicide deaths, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
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