Appropriate vitamin D levels are important, as they contribute to heart health, healthy bone growth, and even improved mood or overall mental well-being.
Is Mood Related to Vitamin D Intake?
The amount of research about vitamin D and its relation to mood swings and depression is growing.
In addition to its well-known role in calcium absorption, vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) that affect brain function and development. Researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain – the same regions that are linked with depression.
Vitamin D Deficiency
According to studies reported by MayoClinic.com, people who are prone to vitamin D deficiency are at higher risk of being affected by mood disorders.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports there is a possible connection between vitamin D and the levels of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, but ties between vitamin D and mood are still largely unknown, according to research by the National Institutes of Health.
Being or becoming vitamin D deficient can be related to many factors including age, having darker skin, not being fully supplemented by the the diet (especially since vitamin D is not primarily found in food like most other vitamins), the body is not properly absorbing it, and those with medical conditions such as obesity, celiac or renal disease, or even liver disease.
Up Your Vitamin D Intake
There are various options that can help you increase your vitamin D levels. Changing your diet to provide you with more vitamin D can be a good idea. Eat more fatty fish like tuna or salmon. You could also try fish liver oils and drink more milk. Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Visit Veranda Sun for a professionally controlled UV tanning session to give your body a hand in creating its own vitamin D. Our sun beds produce UV light that is about 95% UVA and 5% UVB.
Note that no supplementation should be substituted for proper medical treatment in case of depression. Consulting a doctor about how much vitamin D is right for you is the best course of action for regulating your intake and staying healthy, both physically and mentally.