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Blood tests for vitamin D levels may be useful for predicting a depression patient's chances of relapse, according to a new study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Numerous studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D may be linked to depression. However, the new study is among the first to show that the nutrient may serve as a useful predictor of relapse risk for individuals with a prior history of depression.
For the study, researchers from the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center analyzed blood test samples collected from nearly 13,000 individuals treated between 2006 and 2010. The results showed that those who had the lowest levels of vitamin D were more likely to have a history of depression.
This suggests that vitamin D may not necessarily predict whether or not a healthy individual will eventually develop depression. However, blood testing may predict a past history and if a person is at risk for a relapse in the future.
"These findings suggest that primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessment of vitamin D levels," the team wrote in their report.
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