Postpartum depression and vitamin D: A systematic review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(9):1514-1520. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1423276. Epub 2018 Feb 2.


Postpartum depression (PPD) is a prevalent mood disorder estimated to affect 20%-40% of women worldwide after childbirth. In recent studies, the effect of vitamin D on prevention of mood disorders and depression has been investigated, but it is still unclear how vitamin D may affect PPD. The evidence on the relevance between vitamin D deficiency and PPD is inconsistent, and assessment of the recent literature has not previously been carried out. Moreover, there are few clinical studies on PPD and vitamin D supplementation. Five studies have so far assessed the relationship between the levels of vitamin D and PPD. Findings from cohort studies suggest that vitamin-D deficiency is related to the incidence of PPD and vitamin D may play a significant role in the recovery of women with PPD, but it is uncertain whether these actions are the effect of vitamin D on the function of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the levels of estradiol, serotonin, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and/or of other mechanisms involved in PPD.

Keywords: Depression; Postpartum Period; Pregnancy; Review; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum / diet therapy
  • Depression, Postpartum / drug therapy
  • Depression, Postpartum / etiology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*


  • Vitamin D