In Ireland, scientists have been studying over 8,000 Irish residents who are at least 50 years old. Each participant has taken part in questionnaires and exams over a ten year period. The data has been compiled to analyzed life factors that impact the aging process positively or negatively. Recently, scientists have discovered a link between vitamin D levels and depression.
Other scientific studies have suggested that there could be a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression, but, until now, no one has been able to establish concretely that a lack of vitamin D leads to depression.
Since this study, known as the acronym TILDA, studied each participant’s entire life over a long period of time, the link between vitamin D and depression was able to be proved concretely. How much of an effect does vitamin D have on depression?
Increased deficiency in Ireland
People with vitamin D deficiency are 75% more likely to suffer from depression. This is especially true for a person that has chronic vitamin D deficiency over a period of years rather than just a temporary drop in the vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency is a public health issue in Ireland. In other countries, it is common for food such as bread and cereals to be fortified with vitamin D, but this is not the case in Ireland. Cloudy overcast is extremely common in Ireland, so many aging adults do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
Depression and aging
Depression hastens the aging process. It has already been proven that depression can lead to physical symptoms, such as pain. Natural aging also causes new health concerns, many of which are physically painful, and these have been found to cause depression.
Vitamin D deficiency causes bone health problems, which also causes pain and depression. For aging adults, vitamin D deficiency launches a vicious cycle of physical and emotional pain. Each symptom exacerbates the other. Vitamin D deficiency can be avoided by getting sunlight and taking vitamin D supplements if a medical professional advises it.