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Background: While there is evidence linking vitamin D status with mood, this association and its clinical significance remain uncertain. Moreover, few studies have focused on young, community-dwelling females. The Safe-D study examined the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels and mental health in young women. Methods: Participants completed an online questionnaire, wore a UV dosimeter to measure personal sun exposure and underwent a comprehensive health assessment. Serum 25OHD was measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in 353 healthy women aged 16–25 years, living in Victoria, Australia. Mental health measures included: Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), Kessler psychological distress scale (K10) and 12-item short-form health survey (SF-12), plus any self-reported mental disorder diagnoses or medication use. Results: The prevalence of self-reported mental disorder was 26% and of vitamin D deficiency 27%. The median (Q1, Q3) scores for the PHQ-9, GAD-7, K10 and SF-12 MCS were 6 (3, 9), 5 (2, 8), 19 (15, 25) and 43 (34, 49), respectively. Serum 25OHD levels were not associated with mental health scores. Vitamin D status was not associated with a reported diagnosis of depression or anxiety. Limitations: There was a low prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency and mental health symptoms, which may reduce study power. Conclusion: Our findings do not support an association between serum 25OHD levels and mental health status in young women. Longitudinal studies and randomized clinical trials investigating vitamin D and mood in young women are needed to confirm and extend these results.


School of Psychology

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Journal Article

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