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The new happy pill, vitamin D – Prevention July 2013

The New Happy Pill

A natural way to make you shine

By Jessica Chia, Prevention Magazine

Vitamin D could be your ticket to a brighter mood.
The sunshine vitamin isn’t just for bone health—maintaining healthy levels of the vitamin can combat depressive symptoms, according to a cluster of preliminary research.

A weekly dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin D lifted the moods of a group of 46 vitamin D-deficient women with type 2 diabetes. On average, the women alleviated their depressive symptoms from moderately- to mildly-depressed, according to a presentation at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 73rd Scientific Session in Chicago. This mimics the results of another study that was presented at the Endocrine Society 94th Annual Meeting in 2012, in which clinically depressed women began taking vitamin D supplements in addition to their usual antidepressant medications. Once their blood levels of the fat-soluble vitamin were brought up to a healthy level, these women reported fewer depressive symptoms. In one case, a woman’s depressive symptom classification fell from “severely depressed” to “minimally depressed.”

Vitamin D receptors in the brain and body play a role in our mental health and outlook on life, but it’s still unknown exactly how they operate. Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, a professor at Loyola University Chicago’s school of nursing who specializes in vitamin D research, believes the connection has to do with the supplement’s energizing effects.

This is key, because the energy boost may encourage individuals to get out and socialize, get moving, eat a healthier diet, and make other choices that fuel an upward spiral of positivity.

“The women in our study kept saying that why they felt better was because they were less fatigued,” Dr. Penckofer, who is the author of the study presented at the ADA, says. “Even if it isn’t working on the brain, it’s improving symptoms.”

Obesity, old age, darker skin, and excessive time spent indoors are all risk factors for low levels of vitamin D.
If your doctor finds that your levels are seriously floundering, supplement therapy is your best bet, but there are also plenty of pill-free ways anyone can up their intake of the vitamin.

See also VitaminDWiki - Depression

See also VitaminDWiki - Pain

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