Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that promotes cell growth, healthy bones and supports the immune system. Some people call it the “sunshine vitamin.” The body produces this vitamin naturally, or you can use supplements.
In addition, studies have indicated that not having this vitamin in your body may lead to depression. Therefore, this article will look at the potential links between a shortage of vitamin D in a human’s body and depression.
Vitamin D and Depression
Studies and research on the correlation between Vitamin D and depression have all noted that many people who suffer from depression also experience a low circulation of vitamin D in their blood. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that both factors are related. More specifically, studies have shown that low vitamin D levels in pregnant women can be strongly linked to postpartum depression. This type of depression occurs in women after they have given birth.
Additionally, research has noted a possible association between low levels of vitamins and depression in patients suffering from gout, chronic spinal cord injuries, and even multiple sclerosis. Studies have also indicated that various groups of people who experience depression show some improvement after taking vitamin D supplements. However, this benefit has not been explicitly noted in these studies.
A high-quality study that involved more than 18,000 people suffering from depression discovered that taking 2,000 IU per day of Vitamin D for five years did not necessarily lead to significant changes in the depression scores of these people, compared with taking a placebo. Other studies outrightly stated that no effect occurred when patients suffering from depression took vitamin D.
Therefore, due to the differences in results of these many studies, more research needs to be done to determine the link between vitamin D deficiency and depression properly. These studies should also cover how the ingestion of these supplements affects the signs and symptoms of depression.
Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency
A lack of sun exposure, age, and other factors can contribute to a patient suffering from low vitamin D levels.
- Limited Sun Exposure
Most people get their vitamin D directly from the sun and not through supplements. Therefore, when you limit your exposure to the sun, you limit your exposure to giving your body the required vitamins, which can lead to vitamin D deficiency.
However, you should understand that the amount of exposure needed depends on the local climate, the time of the day, and the time of the year.
While not many foods are vitamin D -packed, there are still some natural sources of vitamin D that you can take. These include:
- Fish liver oils
- Animal oils
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient our body regularly needs to improve our mental health and reduce depression. Some studies have discovered that low vitamin D levels may be linked to depression. In contrast, other studies have indicated that supplying our body with these vitamins through supplements also helps improve depression symptoms.