Q. My 18-year-old son became depressed. I did some research before taking him to the doctor, so I encouraged her to check his vitamin D level.
Lo and behold it was below the normal level at 20 ng/ml. After two months of supplementation (5000 IU/day), his levels are now high normal (59 ng/ml) and he is no longer depressed. This is much better than meds since it was inexpensive and without side effects.
A. Correcting vitamin D deficiency can help alleviate depression in some patients (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, June, 2013), although it is certainly not a panacea.
Your son’s vitamin D levels should be carefully monitored. At 5,000 IUs per day, some people could end up with too much vitamin D in their bodies. He may need to cut back now that he is in the normal range.
We offer more information about determining vitamin D levels, as well as the many effects vitamin D has on physical and psychological health, in our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency. You will also find details on more typical treatments for depression, including many commonly used antidepressants as well as non-drug approaches such as talking therapy, in our Guide to Dealing with Depression.