Vitamin D vs Broad Spectrum Phototherapy in the Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder

J Nutr Health Aging. 1999;3(1):5-7.

Abstract

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is prevalent when vitamin D stores are typically low. Broad-spectrum light therapy includes wavelengths between 280-320 nm which allow the skin to produce vitamin D. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in SAD. A prospective, randomized controlled trial was conducted in a group of 15 subjects with SAD. Eight subjects received 100,000 I.U. of vitamin D and seven subjects received phototherapy. At the onset of treatment and after 1 month of therapy subjects were administered the Hamilton Depression scale, the SIGH-SAD, and the SAD-8 depression scale. All subjects also had serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D) measured before and 1 week after intervention therapy. All subjects receiving vitamin D improved in all outcome measures. The phototherapy group showed no significant change in depression scale measures. Vitamin D status improved in both groups (74% vitamin D group, p < 0.005 and 36% phototherapy group, p < 0.01). Improvement in 25-OH D was significantly associated with improvement in depression scale scores (r2=0.26; p=0.05). Vitamin D may be an important treatment for SAD. Further studies will be necessary to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / therapy*
  • Vitamin D / biosynthesis
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Vitamin D