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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2009 Feb;11(1):12-9.

Some new food for thought: the role of vitamin D in the mental health of older adults.

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Geriatrics Institute and Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, and Bruce W. Carter Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL 33125, USA.


Vitamin D, a multipurpose steroid hormone vital to health, has been increasingly implicated in the pathology of cognition and mental illness. Hypovitaminosis D is prevalent among older adults, and several studies suggest an association between hypovitaminosis D and basic and executive cognitive functions, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Vitamin D activates receptors on neurons in regions implicated in the regulation of behavior, stimulates neurotrophin release, and protects the brain by buffering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses against vascular injury and improving metabolic and cardiovascular function. Although additional studies are needed to examine the impact of supplementation on cognition and mood disorders, given the known health benefits of vitamin D, we recommend greater supplementation in older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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