Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
It’s also found in foods such as fatty fish (salmon), mushrooms, and some fortified foods and drinks.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in your body, promoting bone health and immune system function.
Recent research has also shown that vitamin D may have a role in mental health and mood regulation.
Depression and Vitamin Deficiencies
Depression affects millions of people around the world.
Its symptoms can include:
- Prolonged feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Difficulty sleeping or excess tiredness
- Appetite changes and weight gain or loss
- Loss of energy and motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
There appears to be a tendency for people living with depression to have lower vitamin D levels, indicating that vitamin D may play a role in the development or severity of depression.
This may also indicate a possible treatment strategy for depression.
Vitamin D Supplementation for Depression?
Anti-depressant medications are commonly prescribed to treat depression, but they don’t work for everyone and can have some side effects.
So, researchers are always looking for new and improved treatment options.
Vitamin D supplementation is a promising potential treatment for depression because it’s relatively safe, cheap, and easy to take.
A few studies have found that vitamin D supplementation can improve symptoms of depression, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Other studies have seen little or no effect of vitamin D supplementation on depression when compared to a placebo.
It’s possible that the effects of vitamin D supplementation may vary depending on a person’s initial vitamin D levels alongside other factors.
One study suggested that vitamin D supplements may help with anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms (which often accompany depression). Still, it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on depression itself.
Getting Better Today
If you’re considering taking a vitamin D supplement to help with depression, speak to your doctor or healthcare professional first. They can help you determine if you have a vitamin D deficiency and, if so, whether supplementation is the best option for you.
Even if supplements aren’t right for you, a growing body of evidence suggests that spending time outdoors in natural sunlight may help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.