Relationship between serum 25(Oh)d and depression: Causal evidence from a bi-directional mendelian randomization study

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The relationship between depression and vitamin D deficiency is complex, with evidence mostly from studies affected by confounding and reverse causality. We examined the causality and direction of the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and depression in bi-direc-tional Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses using information from up to 307,618 white British participants from the UK Biobank and summary results from the SUNLIGHT (n = 79,366) and Psychiatric Genomics consortia (PGC 113,154 cases and 218,523 controls). In observational analysis, the odds of depression decreased with higher 25(OH)D concentrations (adjusted odds ratio (OR) per 50% increase 0.95, 95% CI 0.94–0.96). In MR inverse variance weighted (IVW) using the UK Biobank, there was no association between genetically determined serum 25(OH)D and depression (OR per 50% higher 0.97, 95% CI 0.90–1.05) with consistent null association across all MR approaches and in data from PGC consortium. In contrast, genetic liability to depression was associated with lower 25(OH)D concentrations (MR IVW −3.26%, −4.94%, −1.55%), with the estimates remaining generally consistent after meta-analysing with the consortia. In conclusion, we found genetic evidence for a causal effect of depression on lower 25(OH)D concentrations, however we could not confirm a beneficial effect of nutritional vitamin D status on depression risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jan 2021


  • 25(OH)D
  • Depression
  • Mendelian randomization
  • Nutritional vitamin D status
  • Observational analysis
  • UK Biobank

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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