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Papers: 29 Jun 2024 - 5 Jul 2024

2024 Jul 04

Transl Psychiatry




Vitamin D, chronic pain, and depression: linear and non-linear Mendelian randomization analyses.


Bassett E, Gjekmarkaj E, Mason AM, Zhao SS, Burgess S


Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various chronic pain conditions. However, randomized trials of vitamin D supplementation have had mixed results. In contrast, systematic reviews of randomized trials indicate a protective effect of vitamin D supplementation on depression. We undertake a Mendelian randomization investigation in UK Biobank, a study of UK residents aged 40-65 at recruitment. We perform linear and non-linear Mendelian randomization analyses for four outcomes: fibromyalgia, clinical fatigue, chronic widespread pain, and probable lifetime major depression. We use genetic variants from four gene regions with known links to vitamin D biology as instruments. In linear analyses, genetically-predicted levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], a clinical marker of vitamin D status, were not associated with fibromyalgia (odds ratio [OR] per 10 nmol/L higher 25(OH)D 1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.93, 1.12), clinical fatigue (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.94, 1.05), chronic widespread pain (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.89, 1.02), or probable lifetime major depression (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.93, 1.01). In non-linear analyses, an association was observed between genetically-predicted 25(OH)D levels and depression in the quintile of the population with the lowest 25(OH)D levels (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.59, 0.94); associations were null in other strata. Our findings suggest that population-wide vitamin D supplementation will not substantially reduce pain or depression; however, targeted supplementation of deficient individuals may reduce risk of depression.