For postmenopausal women, maintaining proper vitamin D levels is crucial, mainly in terms of prevention of osteoporosis as it aids calcium absorption.1 The vitamin may also play a role in managing anxiety, though these benefits are still being researched.
To further explore the possible link between vitamin D and anxiety, Italian researchers conducted a cross-sectional study on postmenopausal women evaluated for osteoporosis.
There were 177 postmenopausal women at the average age of 65 participating in this study. They were being assessed for osteoporosis treatment and prevention at the outpatient clinic of the University Hospital of Messina, Italy. The results were published in the Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Women had their vitamin D serum levels checked. According the results, they were assigned into three groups:
- Group 1: 26.32 ng/mL of 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D)
- Group 2: 26.75 ng/mL of 25(OH)D
- Group 3: 28.90 ng/mL of 25(OH)D
Each group underwent assessments for anxiety symptoms using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA) as well as depression levels using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scale.
It was observed that anxiety levels were significantly lower in group 3 (which had the highest vitamin D levels) in comparison to group 1 (which had the lowest vitamin D levels).
The HAMA scores for somatic and psychic symptoms also tended to be lower in group 3 than group 1.
Depression levels were not significantly different in any of the groups.
What Does It Mean?
Authors of this cross-sectional study reported a clear and significant association between anxiety and vitamin D levels in postmenopausal women. They observed that women with low vitamin D levels were more likely to experience more anxiety symptoms.
Mental health difficulties, such as anxiety and depression, are known to take a toll on postmenopausal women's well-being and quality of life. Revealing neuroprotective effects of vitamin D can expand its therapeutic applications and help women tackle their symptoms naturally.
- Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology. (2018). Vitamin D status is associated with anxiety levels in postmenopausal women evaluated for osteoporosis. Retrieved February 17, 2021 from https://cab.unime.it/journals/index.php/MJCP/article/view/1740
- Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. (2008). The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis. Retrieved February 17, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621390/