Depression is often characterized by low energy levels, emotional distress and loss of interest in activities and hobbies. The frequently listed causes have so far not taken into consideration the possible lack of vitamin D.Perhaps this is because the link between vitamin D and depression has not been properly established through reliable scientific research.
It is unclear whether a person who, as a result of a vitamin D deficiency, suffers from bouts of depression or whether depression itself causes the said deficiency.
Link Between Vitamin D And Depression
Commonly Known Benefits Of Vitamin D
Although there are five forms of vitamin D, only two are of particular importance to human beings – vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining optimal bone strength. It is also known to improve muscle function.
Recent research studies note that it can even aid weight loss. It is widely accepted that an adequate amount of sunshine serves as a daily dose of vitamin D although artificial supplements are often prescribed as required. Perhaps it is here that we begin to understand the existence of an association between vitamin D and depression.
Vitamin D And SAD
What does seasonal affective disorder have to do with vitamin D? Well, scientific research has proven that people who reside in locations where there is a considerable reduction in daylight hours, particularly during the winter months, experience depression.
Broad spectrum light therapy and vitamin D supplements are often prescribed to alleviate depression caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D, Brain Development And Depression
Joyce C. McCann and Bruce N. Ames, scientists with the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute have indicated that there exists enough biological proof to suggest vitamin D’s involvement in brain function through a wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain.
It has been suggested that these receptors are present in areas of the brain which regulate behavior and emotions. However, in the absence of adequate and conclusive evidence, it is difficult to actually pinpoint the exact nature of how vitamin D affects depression or vice versa.
How To Beat Depression With Vitamin D
In spite of the lack of scientific research, controlled trials conducted so far have found a link between depression and vitamin D levels. Participants experiencing depression were administered measured doses of vitamin D and showed improvement. Alternatively, the sunshine vitamin can easily be got from the number one source – sunlight.
Some studies have shown that exposure to sunlight increases the production of β-endorphin which is said to enhance mood and energy. Oral supplements for vitamin D must only be taken on the recommendations of a qualified physician. Please note that these supplements cannot be consumed as antidepressants. It is equally important to remember that given the ambiguity of research findings, proper tests to ascertain vitamin D deficiency levels and as well as mental health assessment is imperative.
Self medication is strictly not advocated as vitamin overdoses can lead to toxic symptoms. However, there is no harm in getting a little sunlight on a daily basis to leave you feeling healthy and happy.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.