Vitamin D supplements do not protect against depression – naturopathy & naturopathic specialist portal

Depression: No protective effect through vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D supplements do not lower the risk of depression in adults. This is the result of the most extensive study on the subject to date. A possible protective effect against depression has often been reported in recent years.

In a large study, researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital found no evidence that vitamin D supplements reduced the risk of depression. In addition, no improvement in the general mood could be demonstrated by these preparations. The results were published in the renowned specialist journal “JAMA” presented.

No use of vitamin D pills for depression

It has long been suspected that vitamin D supplements can protect against depression. The largest study of this type to date, however, comes to the conclusion that this is not the case. “There was no significant benefit from dietary supplements for this purpose,” the research team concludes based on their analysis. Vitamin D supplements can therefore neither prevent depression nor help with existing depression, emphasizes lead author Olivia I. Okereke from the psychiatric department of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

No difference to the placebo

The findings are based on data from over 18,000 middle-aged men and women. Half of the participants received vitamin D3 supplementation over an average period of five years. The other half instead took a placebo medication for the same duration.

The results were clear. Among the 18,353 randomized participants, the team found that the risk of developing a Depression or clinically relevant depressive symptoms between those who received vitamin D3 supplements and those who received a placebo, did not differ significantly. Likewise, no significant differences between the treatment groups in the mood values ​​over time could be determined.

Previous studies were too small

“A scientific problem is that you actually need a very large number of study participants to say whether treatment helps prevent depression or not,” explains Okereke. The current study was statistically verified with almost 20,000 people to address this problem.

The reason for taking it is crucial

“Vitamin D is known to be essential for bone health and metabolism, but randomized trials have cast doubt on many of the other suspected benefits,” said the lead author. From a medical point of view, the preparations cannot be recommended for mood enhancement. When diagnosed Vitamin D Deficient but the supplements make sense. (vb)

Also read: Vitamin D supplements are useless and rather risky.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Large Study Confirms Vitamin D Does Not Reduce Risk of Depression in Adults (veröffentlicht: 4. August 2020),
  • Olivia I. Okereke, Charles F. Reynolds, David Mischoulon, et al: Effect of Long-term Vitamin D3 Supplementation vs Placebo on Risk of Depression or Clinically Relevant Depressive Symptoms and on Change in Mood Scores A Randomized Clinical Trial; in: JAMA, 2020,

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.

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