Vitamin D Helps Beat Depression

By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

A recently published study confirmed the value of vitamin D supplementation as an effective treatment for depression. In fact, the improvements exceeded the results typically obtained with antidepressant medications. This study is very important because, unlike many previous studies, it involved the use of a significant dose of vitamin D (average 4000 IU per day), it was double-blinded and placebo-controlled, and the patients were followed for a full year. Researchers found that not only did the depressive symptoms correlate with low blood levels of vitamin D, but that correcting the deficiency improved the depressive symptoms.14

In my practice, I use a combination of fish oil, vitamin D, light therapy, and a high-nutrient diet to reverse depression. The results we achieve are much more substantial than one could expect using traditional drug therapy.

Often, patients are referred to me with a significant medical difficulty accompanied by depression. It can be unclear if the medical condition contributes to the depression. However, in most cases, a long history of depression preceded the development of the medical condition. Here is an illustrative case.

Case Study In Recovery

Julia Sneiderman came to my office in April 1997 suffering from depression, extreme fatigue, and a severe rash. The rash was scattered all over her body, but it was especially red and angry on her face. The rash was biopsied by a local dermatologist and found to be a form of lupus. Her blood tests confirmed anemia with an Hb (hemoglobin) of 10.4, a high ESR (sedimentation rate) of 100, and other markers consistent with systemic lupus erythematosis.

Using my protocol for autoimmune disease, Julia was put on a high-micronutrient diet, one teaspoon of fish oil a day, and enough vitamin D to bring her 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test to over 35 ng/mL (which in her case was about 2600 IU of vitamin D3 per day).

Within two months, Julia was feeling much better, less fatigued, and certainly not depressed. Over the next four months, she regained her energy, and the rash on her face and body totally cleared. She became healthy again, her blood tests almost totally normalized, her ESR dropped almost to normal, and she was no longer anemic.

Now, more than a year later, Julia reports that not only is she well again—and loves her high-nutrient diet, but she says that for the first time in many years she feels what it is like to be optimistic and excited about life. Julia beat both depression and lupus simultaneously through optimal nutrition.


1. Jorde R, Sneve M, Figenschau Y, et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial. J Intern Med 2008;264(6):599-609. Vitamin D Helps Beat Depression

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