Effect of vitamin D supplementation on the incidence and prognosis of depression: An updated meta-analysis based on randomized controlled trials

Front Public Health. 2022 Aug 1;10:903547. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.903547. eCollection 2022.


Background: There have been several controversies about the correlation between vitamin D and depression. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and the incidence and prognosis of depression and to analyze the latent effects of subgroups including population and supplement strategy.

Methods: A systematic search for articles before July 2021 in databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library) was conducted to investigate the effect of vitamin D supplementation on the incidence and prognosis of depression.

Results: This meta-analysis included 29 studies with 4,504 participants, indicating that the use of vitamin D was beneficial to a decline in the incidence of depression (SMD: -0.23) and improvement of depression treatment (SMD: -0.92). Subgroup analysis revealed that people with low vitamin D levels (<50 nmol/L) and females could notably benefit from vitamin D in both prevention and treatment of depression. The effects of vitamin D with a daily supplementary dose of >2,800 IU and intervention duration of ≥8 weeks were considered significant in both prevention and treatment analyses. Intervention duration ≤8 weeks was recognized as effective in the treatment group.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that vitamin D has a beneficial impact on both the incidence and the prognosis of depression. Whether suffering from depression or not, individuals with low vitamin D levels, dose >2,800 IU, intervention duration ≥8 weeks, and all females are most likely to benefit from vitamin D supplementation.

Keywords: depression; incidence; meta-analysis; prognosis; vitamin D supplementation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression* / drug therapy
  • Depression* / epidemiology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamins* / therapeutic use


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D