Sunlight Vitamin’s Benefits in Pregnancy

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy linked to depression in African American women

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) African-American women are already prone to not getting enough vitamin D. When they are pregnant, lacking this nutrient might influence their mental health.

A recent study found that black pregnant women's vitamin D levels were linked to depression symptoms.

The less vitamin D these women had, the higher risk of depression.

"Eat plenty of fruits and veggies."

The study, led by Andrea E. Cassidy-Bushrow, PhD, MPH, from the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, aimed to find out whether African-American women's vitamin D levels during pregnancy were linked to depression.

The researchers recruited 178 pregnant women and measured their vitamin D levels and their depression symptoms with standard assessment tools.

They found that 83 percent of the women were not getting enough vitamin D.

In addition, 42 percent of the women scored high enough on the depression scale to indicate they may have clinical depression.

When the researchers compared these two findings to one another, they found a relationship between not having enough vitamin D and having more depression symptoms.

For every extra unit of vitamin D in the researchers' mathematical formula that a woman had, her risk of having a score for clinical depression dropped by 46 percent.

In other words, the less vitamin D a woman had, the more likely she was to be depressed.

The researchers recommended that further research look at the effects of vitamin D supplements on depression rates among African-American pregnant women.

The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of Women's Health. The research was funded by the Institute for Population Sciences, Health Assessment, Administration, Services and Economics. The authors declared no competing interests.

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Review Date: 
November 9, 2012
Last Updated:
November 13, 2012