Now it’s no secret that vitamin D is an integral part of our daily lives. Not only does it provide ample amounts of calcium our bodies need to stay healthy, it is also a natural treatment to ailments such as osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. Considered a hormone, vitamin D has the ability to alter gene expression. Being deficient in any one hormone can be detrimental to a person’s mood and how they feel. The same change can occur if you are vitamin D deficient. Here are some ways you can avoid that connection between vitamin D and depression.Credit: Jesse Therrien
Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency and Overcoming Depression
As explained previously, deficiency in vitamin D can cause depression as well as an array of health problems. To understand how vitamin D and depression are linked, we first need to understand how the deficiency happens and what effect it has on the body.
Vitamin D deficiency is actually more common than people think. It is important for people to be exposed to the sun at least four times a week for 15 minutes to get proper sunlight exposure. This creates vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D absorbed through the skin makes up for at least 80% of the vitamin D in our bodies. Other ways to get vitamin D is by eating fatty fish like tuna, and by taking supplements. The best way, however, is to spend time outside in the sunlight, especially as you age. As we grow older, it is harder for our bodies to absorb sunlight and synthesize it to vitamin D.
How Deficiency in Vitamin D Causes Depression
Now, if you are not exposed to the sun enough, such as in winter or if you live in especially cold climates, you can face the threat of depression. Deficiency in Vitamin D and depression are linked because of a disorder called Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD). SAD can cause a change in mood and even depression when daylight hours are decreased during winter season. The most natural cure to SAD is efficient sunlight exposure, but it is not always possible in the winter.
SAD also affects your melatonin levels, which also have to do with sunlight exposure. Melatonin is the source that actually puts you down to rest at night, and is triggered by the dark. Your body, therefore, naturally thinks it’s night and then wants to sleep. What sunlight does is it turns melatonin off. This is why it is so important to get sufficient exposure to the sun. It is important to not be deficient in vitamin D because depression then can be treated naturally.
How it Works
Vitamin D is a fine source of calcium for your body. It maintains healthy bones as well as calcium levels in the body. Vitamin D is available through food, supplements, or through the sun. Being exposed to the sun at least 4 times a week for 15 minutes is sufficient, but more is exposure is even better. If you live in a cold climate or are not exposed to as much sunlight as you need, you can find your vitamin source in foods like fatty fish or in supplements. Don’t let any deficiency in vitamin D and depression get the better of you.