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Vitamin D and the Risk of Depression: A Causal Relationship? Findings from a Mendelian Randomization Study

1
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45147 Essen, Germany
2
Institut für Medizinische Biometrie und Statistik, Universität zu Lübeck, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, 23562 Lübeck, Germany
3
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Münster, 48149 Münster, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051085
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calcium, Vitamin D and Health)
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Abstract

While observational studies show an association between 25(OH)vitamin D concentrations and depressive symptoms, intervention studies, which examine the preventive effects of vitamin D supplementation on the development of depression, are lacking. To estimate the role of lowered 25(OH)vitamin D concentrations in the etiology of depressive disorders, we conducted a two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) study on depression, i.e., “depressive symptoms” (DS, n = 161,460) and “broad depression” (BD, n = 113,769 cases and 208,811 controls). Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which were genome-wide significantly associated with 25(OH)vitamin D concentrations in 79,366 subjects from the SUNLIGHT genome-wide association study (GWAS), were used as an instrumental variable. None of the six SNPs was associated with DS or BD (all p > 0.05). MR analysis revealed no causal effects of 25(OH)vitamin D concentration, either on DS (inverse variance weighted (IVW); b = 0.025, SE = 0.038, p = 0.52) or on BD (IVW; b = 0.020, SE = 0.012, p = 0.10). Sensitivity analyses confirmed that 25(OH)vitamin D concentrations were not significantly associated with DS or BD. The findings from this MR study indicate no causal relationship between vitamin D concentrations and depressive symptoms, or broad depression. Conflicting findings from observational studies might have resulted from residual confounding or reverse causation. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; depression; depressive symptoms; Mendelian randomization vitamin D; depression; depressive symptoms; Mendelian randomization
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Libuda, L.; Laabs, B.-H.; Ludwig, C.; Bühlmeier, J.; Antel, J.; Hinney, A.; Naaresh, R.; Föcker, M.; Hebebrand, J.; König, I.R.; Peters, T. Vitamin D and the Risk of Depression: A Causal Relationship? Findings from a Mendelian Randomization Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1085.

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