Vitamin D And Depression
Depression is a medical condition that changes the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors of an individual. Symptoms include:
- Loss of interest in activities the individual previously liked
- Isolation and withdrawal
What Research Shows
Studies on vitamin D supplementation and depression show a relationship between the two.
The only limitation of the studies is that they donât prove that vitamin D deficiency causes depression. People with depression may have lower vitamin D levels, but the deficiency did not cause the illness.
How Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Depression
If the cause of depression was a lack of the vitamin, then supplementation would help reduce the signs and symptoms. An increase in the levels of the vitamin would also prevent depression from occurring, but this is not the case.
There is another possible explanation of the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Many groups at a high risk of depression are also likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
Adolescents, people with obesity, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are the most prone to having vitamin D deficiency. They are also at a higher risk of depression.
Possible Causes for This Correlation
As noted above, some symptoms of clinical depression include withdrawal and social isolation. Since these individuals spend less time outside, they lack the much-needed exposure to process enough vitamin D.
Many People Get Depressed During The Winter Months When We Produce Less Vitamin D So Can Supplemental Vitamin D Cure Seasonal Depression And Maybe Other Types Of Depression No Alas But It May Help
This page is regularly updated, to include the most recently available clinical trial evidence.
Each member of our research team is required to have no conflicts of interest, including with supplementmanufacturers, food companies, and industry funders. The team includes nutrition researchers, registereddietitians, physicians, and pharmacists. We have a strict editorial process.
This page features 28 references. All factual claims are followed by specifically-applicable references. to see the full set of referencesfor this page.
The ever-popularvitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, and sunshine is implicated in mood. So it makes sense that researchers have intently explored vitamin D supplementation for depression supplemental vitamin D is relatively inexpensive and safe, and may provide a variety of health benefits beside brightening your mood.
But depression is complex. There are many possible causes, and no magic bullet. While you may not expect vitamin D to be a magic bullet per se, you may want to understand the current state of the evidence: what do trial results show, and how exactly exactly does vitamin D impact mood-related pathways?
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Better Absorption Of Calcium
If you’ve ever wondered why so many dairy products include extra vitamin D, that’s because it increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This is important, since calcium can only strengthen bones if it’s first fully absorbed.
Luckily there are things you can do to stop that from happening. First, you can try to eat foods rich in vitamin D. Kofsky recommends including shiitake and button mushrooms, tuna, salmon, sardines, and eggs in your diet. There is a catch, though.
“Vitamin D is very hard to absorb through food, and the only way to truly get it from the sunlight is direct light for 20 minutes a day without sunscreen,” she shares. “If you believe you might need to take supplements, I would first suggest getting your blood tested and making sure it’s something you’re actually low on.”
If you’re low in vitamin D , supplements are an effective option. “Personally, I love Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D supplements, and I would suggest starting with a low dose,” Kofsky says. “Most people and clients I see can benefit from vitamin D, so if you’re not getting it from the sun, it could be a great supplement to start taking!”
Vitamins And Minerals For Anxiety And Stress: Take The Next Step
Virtually all vitamins and minerals are important for overall health, mental well-being, and your ability to cope with anxiety and stress.
But a few, specifically the B complex vitamins, vitamin C, and the minerals magnesium and zinc, excel at helping your body offset the negative effects of stress.
Eating a diet that includes a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and some animal foods will help ensure that you get enough of these nutrients.
But if you dont regularly eat as well as you should, consider supplementation.
If you arent sure where to begin, start with a high-quality multivitamin-mineral supplement.
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What Vitamins Help With Antidepressants
Also, vitamins and herbs may be used to treat depression in addition to antidepressants and therapy. There is a B vitamin called Vitamin B-9, and it can reduce depression by stimulating the brains mood-reliever. When suffering from seasonal depression, Vitamin D, Melatonin and St. Johns Wort are available.
Testing For Low Vitamin D
To know whether you need to supplement, consult your doctor on your vitamin D status. You can complete an initial appointment via telemedicine or in person if you prefer. Your provider can then request a lab test, but this part must be done in person. According to an analysis from Blue Cross Blue Shield, youll pay an average of $50 for this test, which is typically covered by health insurance.
If your vitamin D levels are low, your doctor may recommend a higher dose. Penckofer says that after the test, expect for it to take six to eight weeks to reach your ideal level of vitamin D. She adds that doctors usually test again after three months, to see how your levels have changed.
Research and doctors would agree that 30 ng/ml is where you need to be, says Penckofer. That 30 refers to the amount of vitamin D in your bloodstream, according to the National Institutes of Health .
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Final Thoughts On The Connection From Panic Attacks To Vitamin Deficiencies
Between unhealthy eating, environmental toxins, depleted soil, stress, and genetic mutations, getting adequate nutrition is virtually impossible in the modern world. Nutrient deficiencies are all too common, and mood imbalances such as panic disorder can occur as a result.
Identifying your deficiencies and investigating the root cause behind them is key to achieving true health. Measures such as dietary changes, gut healing, gene testing, and supplementation can fill the gaps and improve nutrient status.
As it turns out, you may be able to reduce the panic attacks with proper nutrition.
Evidence For The Association Between Vitamin D And Depression
Several cross-sectional studies, few cohort studies, and one case-control study have examined the association. All the studies found that depressed subjects had lower levels of vitamin D compared to controls, and those with the lowest vitamin D levels had the greatest risk of depression . These values, though statistically significant, do not establish clinical relevance beyond doubt.
While both hospital-based and community-based trials show a link between low vitamin D levels and presence and severity of depressive symptoms, it is important to examine if these associations hold good after controlling for relevant demographic, lifestyle, and geographical factors. Encouragingly, community-based trials that controlled for age, gender, smoking, and body mass index have also found an inverse correlation between serum levels of 25D and levels of depression.
These findings are partly tempered by the conclusions from two negative studies among the elderly one a large Chinese epidemiologic study of men and women aged 5070 years that did not show any association between vitamin D and depression and the other, a cohort study from Hong Kong , where no relationship was observed between baseline vitamin D level and depression status at four-year follow-up. Notably, both these studies showed that the odds ratios turned insignificant after adjusting for several key confounders.
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Ease Occasional Anxiety & Improve Your Mood With Vitamin D
Looking for a way to ease anxiety and get your happy self back?
Did you know that vitamin D may play a big role in helping you to manage your anxiety or depressive thoughts? There are many warning signs or symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in your life or of someone you know, and its important to understand the importance of getting enough of this crucial vitamin.
Vitamin D Basics
Vitamin D is best known for building bones. However, this highly-potent vitamin is essential for overall brain and body health. Optimal vitamin D levels can help improve your mood, boost your overall brain function, and generally improve your well-being. Vitamin D may be involved in the healthy regulation of as many as 900 human genes.
Vitamin D becomes converted by the liver and kidney into a hormone thats so important to brain function its receptors can be found throughout the brain. Vitamin D plays a critical role in the brains early development, its ongoing maintenance, and in its functions that underlie healthy mood and many of the most basic cognitive functions including learning and making memories.
Avoid D Deficiency
Recommended Daily Vitamin D
The Vitamin D Challenge
Impact Of Vitamin D Deficiency On Mental Health
The body needs Vitamin D at the proper level for it to function as it should.
How Vitamin D Works In The Body
Your muscles, heart, brain, and immune system have vitamin D receptors. The body transports the vitamin to the kidneys and liver, where it converts into an active hormone. In this form, it assists the body in absorbing calcium.
Your body acquires vitamin D through sun exposure. Certain foods and supplements can also be sources of vitamin D. Dark-skinned people have a high level of melanin.
Itâs the component that determines coloring in the human and animal world. This pigmentation prevents the skin from absorbing vitamin D correctly.
How Vitamin D Deficiency Leads to Mental Health Effects
- Low bone density
- Excessive weight loss or gain
- Trouble sleepingââ
If you experience any of these symptoms similar to depression, have your vitamin D levels checked. Your doctor will do a test to determine the level of the vitamin in your blood.
For depression diagnosis, you may have to complete a self-assessment test. A blood test can’t diagnose depression but may test other conditions that cause depressive symptoms.
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Evidence For Vitamin D Supplementation In Depression
Vitamin D supplementation for depression in adults
Vitamin D metabolites are capable of crossing the bloodbrain barrier, and as mentioned before, VDRs are widespread in key brain areas implicated in depression, including the hippocampus. Hence, it could be speculated that vitamin D supplementation may confer additional therapeutic benefits in depression.
Building on this premise, a number of trials with different methodologies have evaluated the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in depression in the last decade. However, the findings have been somewhat inconsistent. Partly, the reason may lie in the heterogeneity of trials with respect to sample size, study setting and design, the age range of participants, vitamin D dosing protocols, duration of the intervention, and the outcome measures used.
Clinical improvement in depressive symptoms with vitamin D supplementation appears to vary depending on several methodological considerations. Spedding noted that therapeutic benefits of vitamin D were more pronounced in studies with fewer biological flaws , and worsening in depressive symptoms with vitamin D supplementation was noted in studies with methodological flaws. These perspectives are supported by findings that higher dosages of vitamin D had a greater impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Vitamin D supplementation in depression during pregnancy or peripartum period
Vitamin D supplementation in depression in childhood and adolescence
Uvb And Vitamin D Mental Health Benefits
Studies have shown that increasing vitamin D is good for mental health and mood disorders. Intervention by controlled UVB exposure can be used to stimulate multiple mechanisms of action that have a systemic effect on mental health.
The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis is a dynamic intertwining of the central nervous system and endocrine system in response to stress. Stressful life events and dysfunctional HPA axis have been implicated in mental health pathogenesis, including mood and anxiety disorders. The hypothalamus plays a key role in the symptoms of depression, such as disordered day-night rhythm, lack of reward feelings as well as disturbed eating, sex, and cognitive functions. The skin has a systemic impact on the HPA axis when exposed to the UVB region of ultraviolet light, but not the UVA region. In vitro and animal studies have shown that skin exposure to UVB light expresses all elements of the HPA axis including corticotropin-releasing hormone, proopiomelanocortin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, beta endorphin with corresponding receptors, the glucocorticoidogenic pathway, and the glucocorticoid receptor.
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Vitamin B Complex Supplements
Eating a well-rounded diet of whole, unprocessed foods is a good start towards getting the B vitamins you need from your diet.
However, if you dont eat meat or dont get at least the recommended 9 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, you might be low in one or more of the B vitamins.
One of the most common questions about B vitamin supplementation is whether you should take individual B vitamins or a B complex supplement.
Eventually it can cause permanent nerve and brain damage.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms .
When you read a B12 supplement label, youll find that it usually contains much more than this.
Because only about 2% of the B12 in supplements is actually absorbed, the excess assures that youre getting close to the RDA.
How Can You Get Enough Vitamin D In The Winter
During winter, many people spend more time indoors, and it gets dark earlier in the day.
Additionally, people are more bundled up when theyre outside, so less skin is exposed to the sunlight. This can lead to inadequate vitamin D levels through the winter for some people.
This may also be one factor that plays into seasonal affective disorder , a type of depression that typically occurs only during the winter months .
However, there are several ways to get more vitamin D during the winter:
- Supplements. Taking a vitamin D supplement throughout the winter can help maintain your blood vitamin D levels even if you get less sun exposure.
- Vitamin D foods. You can also choose more vitamin D-rich foods during the winter, such as vitamin-D fortified dairy or plant-based milk, fish like trout or salmon, or UV-exposed mushrooms (
The safe daily upper limit of vitamin D is 4,000 IU. Vitamin D may help with mood, and other supplements may also help with depression. Aside from taking supplements, there are several actions you can take to increase your vitamin D levels in winter.
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