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Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression

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Tips For Choosing A Vitamin D Supplement To Potentially Boost Mood

Vitamin D deficiency and depression | What you NEED to know (symptoms, testing and dose)

Recommendations vary, but Greenblatt says you can safely take 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Guidelines from the NIH also suggest that to raise vitamin levels, at least 1,500 to 2,000 IU per day of supplemental vitamin D may be required in adults.

Selecting a safe and effective vitamin D supplement is complicated. Most vitamins are not approved by the , so its hard to give guidance, says Penckofer. Vitamin D supplements are not under the same scrutiny as traditional medications, as far as FDA regulation goes. Still, she says if your doctor has you taking a high dose, he or she will likely tell you what brand they use or recommend in their practice, adds Penckofer.

Pro tip: Youll want to ask your doctor for brand suggestions, too, even if you are taking a lower dose. A physician also may have a preferred vendor, she says, based on feedback from patients or research theyve done on their own.

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Beware Of Supplementing With Too Much Vitamin D And Keep Other Sources In Mind To Regulate Mood

Taking too much vitamin D is not advised, and could be dangerous. If you go overboard with vitamin D, you could have too high calcium in the blood, which could be detrimental to your health, affecting your kidneys and your heart, says Penckofer. And according to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, weakness, and even frequent urination, notes the NIH.

Along with supplementation, youll also likely get a recommendation from your doctor to seek out sunshine. Short exposure to the sun would help, says Greenblatt. According to the NIH, about 10 to 15 minutes per day of direct sunlight on the arms, face, or the backs of your hands, may be sufficient.

Adds Dr. Wynns, My number one recommendation is to get outside and exercise in nature, because of the research on exercise, sunlight, nature, and mood its the trifecta. Even more so, during this time, Im emphasizing that if youve been cooped up, its important to get outside for a quick walk, or sit out on your deck in your yard. An article published in June 2017 in Frontiers in Psychology cited a wealth of research that suggests exercising outdoors may improve mental well-being. If youre going to exercise outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, though, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations and wear a cloth mask if you can, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

Can I Take Enough Vitamin D From Dietary Sources

Unfortunately, we cant depend on food for taking adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Only a few foods contain vitamin D, actually. Cod liver oil, salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna are the only good sources of vitamin D. Vegans can take vitamin D from certain mushrooms and fortified foods. See the whole list here.

Certainly, sun exposure and vitamin D supplements are the best ways to boost vitamin D intake. Vitamin D supplements are cheap. Compare prices on Amazon.

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What Is Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms Causes & Treatment Options

Quick Health Scoop

  • Vitamin D deficiency affects an estimated 25-40% of U.S. adults
  • A variety of factors can cause a lack of vitamin D, ranging from not getting enough vitamin D from food to trouble absorbing vitamin D
  • Low vitamin D symptoms include fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, mood changes, weight gain, hair loss, and other signs
  • Options for vitamin D deficiency treatment focus on increasing your vitamin D intake, primarily through supplements and food

While you might know that you can get vitamin D from the sun, you can also get it from a few foods and a vitamin D supplement. Yet 95% of Americans dont consume enough Vitamin D from their diet alone. In fact, research suggests that 25-40% of U.S. adults have a blood level indicating vitamin D deficiency.

What is vitamin d deficiency? Simply put, when you have low vitamin D, it means that your body doesnt have enough vitamin D to stay healthy. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, helps your body absorb calcium and works in tandem with it to help build strong bones and keep them healthy. When you have weak bones, youre more likely to develop rickets. Vitamin D also helps your muscles move, and helps support your immune system.

But what are normal vitamin D levels and what level is too low? What causes vitamin D deficiency? What are vitamin d deficiency symptoms to look for? And how do you treat low vitamin D levels?

Lets dig into this important topic that affects so many people in the United States.

Vitamin D Deficiency In People Who Are Depressed

Vitamin B Deficiency

Collectively, the research on vitamin D supplementation and depression indicate that theres a correlation between the two but not a causation. In other words, while depressed individuals may have lower levels of vitamin D, that occurrence did not cause them to develop the illness.

If vitamin D deficiency were the cause, then supplementation to increase levels would likely have reduced the signs and symptoms of depression or prevented it.

The fact many of the groups vulnerable to depression are also prone to vitamin D deficiency may be responsible for the correlation between the two.

According to a study called Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?, the groups at risk for vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, adolescents, obese individuals, and those with chronic illnesses.” The researchers also stated that it is these same groups that have also been reported to be at risk for depression.

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What Foods Have Vitamin D

Even if Vitamin D won’t fix your depression on its own, it’s still important to incorporate more Vitamin D into your diet if you have a deficiency.

Vitamin D is found in few foods naturally, and in relatively small amounts. The best sources include:

  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolks
  • Salmon and other fatty fish

Some foods are also fortified with vitamin D, meaning that more is added in. These commonly include:

  • Milk
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Orange juice

Moreover, if you’re interested in taking a vitamin D supplement, your doctor can check your vitamin D levels and determine the proper dose you may need.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression?

To the Editor: Depression is the most prevalent mood disorder, affecting over 300 million people worldwide, and is a globally significant public health concern.1 More than 1 in 20 Americans suffer from depression.2 It is estimated that by 2020 depression will be the second most common cause of disability after ischemic heart disease.3 Without an established etiology, a combination of factors may contribute to the development of depression including, but not limited to, genetics, stress, substance abuse, low socioeconomic status, isolation, grief, limited social support, and certain disabilities. Hypovitaminosis can result in many different conditions, some of which have an emotional impact.4 Vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression in some people.5

Vitamin D and Depression. There is no specific mechanism to explain how vitamin D deficiency might yield affective illness. Vitamin D receptors in the brain at the prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus, and substantia nigra play a role in regulating emotions.6 Vitamin D regulates serotonin levels, and vitamin D deficiency leads to diminishing serotonin concentrations.7 Low serotonin levels could be an etiology for inducing clinical depression.8


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Those Over The Age Of 50

If you are over 50, you lose some of your natural ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure making you one of the most at risk groups. Your kidneys also become less efficient at converting the vitamin, making it important to stay active and spend plenty of time outside in your 50s, 60s, and beyond. Read more about the importance of vitamin D when youre older here.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency | What are the Causes & Solutions?

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by specific medical conditions, such as:

  • Cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease: These diseases do not allow the intestines to absorb enough vitamin D through supplements.
  • Weight loss surgeries. Weight loss surgeries that reduce the size of the stomach and/or bypasses part of the small intestines make it very difficult to consume sufficient quantities of certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These individuals need to be carefully monitored by their doctors and need to continue to take vitamin D and other supplements throughout their lives.
  • Obesity: A body mass index greater than 30 is associated with lower vitamin D levels. Fat cells keep vitamin D isolated so that it is not released. Vitamin D deficiency is more likely in obese people. Obesity often makes it necessary to take larger doses of vitamin D supplements in order to reach and maintain normal D levels.
  • Kidney and liver diseases: These diseases reduce the amount of an enzyme needed to change vitamin D to a form that is used in the body. Lack of this enzyme leads to an inadequate level of active vitamin D in the body.

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Vitamin Deficiency Can Affect Your Mental Health Here Are 5 Supplements For Mental Health

Psychreg on Health PsychologyWHAT’S IN THIS ARTICLE?

Conversations around mental health have been fairly normalised in recent years. Still, theres a long way to go. But thankfully, things are heading in the right direction and mental health is finally starting to gain more of the attention it deserves.

Yet, one of the things that we dont often hear about is the link between mental health and vitamin deficiency. Diet certainly plays a vital role in a number of diagnosed mental health problems. But because we cant produce most of the vitamins, we have to get them from our diets.

Some mental health problems have been linked to vitamin and nutritional deficiencies. For instance, vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression. Lack of vitamin B12 has been known to exacerbate symptoms in people with specific mental health disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Here are some of the vitamins known to boost our mental health:

Why Is Vitamin D So Important

Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. This vitamin has many functions, including:

  • Keeping bones strong: Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
  • Absorbing calcium: Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Vitamin D, once either taken orally or from sunshine exposure is then converted to an active form of the vitamin. It is that active form that promotes optimal absorption of calcium from your diet.
  • Working with parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work minute to minute to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will borrow calcium from the skeleton in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range.

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Does Vitamin D Help With Depression

Evidence suggests that vitamin D can help with depression, despite how some scientists feel. To clarify, most scientists refute the link between this vitamin and depression because there isnt enough research on it. However, some studies show promising results.

For example, one study found that some of the brain receptors are associated with vitamin D and depression. It went on to say that vitamin D may act on cells and stimulate cell growth. In theory, a vitamin D deficiency can limit this behavior and stunt cell growth. This might stunt brain function as a whole.

The Cambridge University Press lists a journal that aimed to find a link between vitamin D and depression. The meta-analysis and review found that people with depression seemed to have low levels of vitamin D. They concluded that depression is more likely to surface in people with vitamin D deficiencies than people with normal or high levels.

So, does vitamin D help with depression? Evidence shows that people struggling with depression have low levels of vitamin D. It might help, although there is limited research. Either way, its an essential nutrient for the following reasons:

  • Helps with bone health
  • It can prevent multiple sclerosis
  • Helps the body regular blood sugar levels

Its evident that vitamin D is crucial to overall health. Bad physical health can lead to bad mental health. Its important to get enough vitamin D to promote a healthy body and mind.

Vitamin D Remains Important

Vitamin D Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms and Bio

Even if vitamin D doesn’t serve as a remedy or preventative tactic for mood-related conditions, that doesn’t diminish its importance for your overall health.

The recommended daily allowance is 600 IU daily, climbing to 800 IU for adults age 70 and up, according to the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Nearly 25 percent of people in the United States fall short on the sunshine vitamin, per the ODS.

If food and sunshine aren’t providing you with enough of it, a vitamin D supplement can fill in the gap.

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Prevalence Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D receptors are traced throughout the brain explaining the role of vitamin D in psychosomatic disorders, and it was found to have an equivocal call for vitamin D deficiency and depression going hand in hand .

Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency is a worldwide problem, affecting all ages and races. Optimal 25 vitamin D concentrations for skeletal health are > 30 ng/ml. Serum 25 vitamin D concentrations are generally lower in blacks than in whites and people who avoid exposing them to the sun. The increased use of sunscreens is hypothesized to increase the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. Older adults, as a result of hyperparathyroidism related to renal insufficiency, tend to require more vitamin D to achieve adequate levels of 25 vitamin D. As a result of the change in the definition of adequate concentrations, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is higher than previously thought. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among older men and women living in the United States and Europe ranges from 40100%. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2000 to 2004 found that ~25% of men > 50 years of age and 3035% of women > 50 years of age had 25 vitamin D concentrations < 0.001. Two studies performed in Colorado and Georgia found that despite reported consumption of more than the required daily intake of vitamin D , the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency among community-dwelling older adults ranged from 36.7 to 74.0% .

Demographic And Other Related Variable Differences

A comparison of demographic variables between adolescents with insufficient, deficient, and normal 25-OH D levels is presented in Table .

Table 1 Patient Characteristics by 25-OH Vitamin D Levels

Family history, medication exposure, and seasonal differences

Immediate family history of psychosis and current antidepressant exposure were also independently related to psychosis. Rates of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency rose from December through March, peaking in March, as would be expected. No seasonal effects, however, were statistically detected , possibly due to both latitude and high rates of overall deficiency and insufficiency.

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Can Medications Cause A Vitamin D Deficiency

Yes. Vitamin D levels can be lowered by certain medications. These include:

Always tell your doctor about the drugs you take and any vitamin D supplements or other supplements or herbs/alternative health products that you take.

Can A Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression

Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression

By Andrew Weil, M.D.

Can there really be a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression? Dr. Weil takes a look at this interesting theory.

There may be a connection between vitamin D and depression. Unfortunately, very little scientific research has been done in this area. However, the latest study, from Oregon State University, did find a correlation in young, otherwise healthy, women. Researchers recruited 185 female college students ages 18 to 25 to take part in the study at different times during the school year. Vitamin D levels were measured with blood tests, and all of the participants completed a depression symptom survey weekly for five weeks.

The researchers reported that many of the young women had vitamin D levels that were below what is considered sufficient for good health. All told, 61 percent of the women of color participating had low levels of D, compared to 35 percent of the white women in the study. All the womens vitamin D levels varied with the time of the year and, as expected, were lowest in winter, rose in the spring and declined in the fall. More than a third of the participants reported clinically significant symptoms of depression each week for the duration of the study.

In a press release accompanying publication of the study, lead researcher David Kerr Ph.D. noted that depression has multiple, powerful causes and if vitamin D is part of the picture, it is just a small part.

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