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.
- 50,000 IU Vitamin D weekly Improves Mood, Lowers Blood Pressure in Type 2 Diabetics – Oct 2013 highlights of Penckofer study
- 99 percent of psychiatric population had less than 30 ng of vitamin D – June 2013
- Low vitamin D and depression - Study and meta-analysis, April 2013
- Mental health problems cut in half when have adequate level of vitamin D – Jan 2013
- Depression book talks about vitamin D - Nov 2012
- The happy Vitamin – Vitamin D – a 2 minute video March 2014
- All items in category Winter Blues/Depression and Vitamin D
- Overview Pain and Vitamin D relieves many chronic pains
- Vitamin D and Chronic Pain: Promising Correlates - July 2012
- Higher quality of life associated with higher levels of vitamin D
- Vitamin D reduced skeletal pain in 85 percent of the patients – Nov 2012
- If you cannot readily get medical treatment, consider Alternative Med such as vitamin D
- Leg pain 7X more prevalent when vitamin D lower than 20 ng – Oct 2010