According to recent research carried out by the National Institute of Aging, elderly people with lower levels of Vitamin D in the blood may be more prone to depression over time.

A study was carried over a 6 year period with over one thousand men and women over the age of 65 taking part   The research was performed and tracked the changes of Vitamin D levels. The outcome correlated those cases who were thought to have depression amongst the group were those found to have lower levels in their blood

Deficiency in the vitamin was shown to be high, as 72 per cent of those researched were found to be deficient and depressed, whilst 60 per cent were deficient yet displayed no signs of depression. Furthermore, at the beginning of the research period, three quarters of women and half the men were found to be Vitamin D insufficient, which is more severe than being deficient.

Although the researchers state that Vitamin D deficiency causes depression, they do state that: “vitamin D deficiency in the elderly may become in the future a strategy to prevent the development of depressive mood in the elderly and avoid its deleterious consequences on health. In addition, normalization of vitamin D levels may be part of any depression treatment plans in older patients.”

We get most of the Vitamin D we need from the rays of the sun; around 90% in fact.  Our diet makes up the other 10% and can be found in foods, particularly oily fish  In order for our bodies to synthesise Vitamin D, skin must be exposed to direct sunlight without the barrier of sun screen or full clothing to block out solar rays.  However, it  cannot be synthesised through windows.

Vitamin D deficiency is relatively common in elderly people, due to the fact that many lead less physically active lives in the outdoors. Lacking in the vitamin has been linked to fractures, worse physical function, greater frailty, and a wide variety of chronic illness.  This is the reason why people take Vitamin D supplements in order to counteract this problem.