Results of a large study among older women suggest that those who ate more of the “sunshine vitamin” were less likely to experience depression symptoms than women who consumed less of the vitamin, according to findings recently published by Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, associate professor of Epidemiology, with colleagues from several other U.S. academic centers.
Overall, a diverse population of postmenopausal women who consumed 800 international units (IU) per day of the vitamin was 20 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms than those who consumed less than 100 IU daily.
These findings need to be confirmed in clinical trials of vitamin D and depression, say Bertone-Johnson and colleagues at institutions across the nation, but the results are provocative. “Dietary vitamin D intake and supplement use are easy for women to modify and, if shown to be effective in clinical trials, could provide new avenues for the prevention and perhaps the treatment of depression,” she points out.
In addition to sunlight, fat-soluble vitamin D comes largely from eating fatty fish and fortified milk, dairy products and orange juice.
The association observed between dietary vitamin D intake and depressive symptoms was found among nearly 82,000 postmenopausal women (50 to 79 years old) recruited for the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, part of a larger study of older women funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at 40 clinical centers throughout the United States from 1993 to 1998.
Their results are in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Linda Landesman, adjunct faculty with the online MPH in Public Health Practice program, has updated her seminal book Public Health Management of Disasters: The Practice Guide. The all-new third edition is available directly through the APHA bookstore here.
Landesman has been instructing “Public Health Emergency Management” as part of the online MPH curriculum since 2002. This graduate-level course, one of the first of its kind, follows the content set forth in her book. Both the book and the class are designed to help public health practitioners better understand the role of public health preparedness through instruction of the 15 capabilities developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to serve as national public health preparedness standards.
As Principal Investigator for the first national curriculum on the public health management of disasters, sponsored by the CDC through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health in the mid-1990’s, Dr. Landesman is in a unique position to teach these standards to her students. Her “Public Health Emergency Management” class remains one of the most popular graduate course offerings and helps her students prepare to carry out their responsibilities during natural and human-created disasters and to understand public health responsibilities in disaster preparedness and response.
NOTE: Dr. Landesman is a candidate for president-elect of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and a former chair of the APHA Executive Board. To view her candidate statement, click here.
A new study conducted by PhD candidate Patricia Chocano-Bedoya and other researchers in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, including faculty members Lisa Chasan-Taber, Alayne Ronnenberg, Carol Bigelow, and Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, shows that B vitamin intake has been linked to a lower risk of premenstrual syndrome.
The original journal article appears in the February, 2011 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, associate professor of Epidemiology, was interviewed for NPR’s Health Blog this past summer. The blog investigated the science behind a controversial ad campaign (since discontinued due to public outcry) from the agency that created the popular “Got Milk?” ads. The pitch from the California Milk Processor Board suggested that beleaguered husbands and boyfriends should keep the refrigerator stocked with milk as “milk can help reduce the symptoms of PMS.” Dr. Bertone-Johnson comments on the ads and her 2005 research, which was used in part as the scientific basis for the ad campaign.
To read the original NPR Health Blog post, click here.