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How Much Vitamin D For Depression

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What Are The Main Treatments

Vitamin D for Depression

Usually, your doctor will advise therapy, medication or both to treat your depression.

Therapy involves speaking to a qualified psychotherapist who will use talking therapy techniques to help you work through your feelings. Again, there are many different types of therapy including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , interpersonal therapy and others.

Different types of therapy can be done on a one-to-one basis, although you might also be offered group therapy or even online therapy.

Your doctor may also suggest that you take medication to help with your symptoms. There are a range of antidepressant medications available. For example, a group of antidepressants called SSRIs are commonly used to treat depression, especially if this is your first experience of it.

Antidepressants help to manage chemicals in your brain which contribute to your mood. They take a while to kick in often several weeks so its important to give them a chance to work.

While it might take a bit of time to find the right treatment for you, theres a good chance that you will see significant improvements over time. In 2008, the World Health Organisation found that treatment for depression is successful between 60 and 80% of the time.

Other scientists have suggested that, when treatment is not successful, it is often down to patients not taking their medication correctly.

Relationships Between Vitamin D And Depression And Other Mental Health Disorders

There has been research examining the relationship of vitamin D to seasonal affective disorder , schizophrenia, and depression. Several studies have examined whether light therapy improved mood. Partonen, Vakkuri, Lamberg-Allardt, and Lonnqvist randomized 29 patients in a parallel fashion to either one hour or 15 minutes of light therapy in the morning for two weeks in the winter. One hour of light therapy significantly decreased depressive symptoms more so in the group with SAD than the control group . Gloth, Alam, and Hollis randomized 15 participants with SAD to either 100,000 IU of vitamin D or phototherapy . They reported that depression decreased in persons who received vitamin D as compared to those who received phototherapy . There were no untoward side effects from the dose of vitamin D however, a limitation of the study was the one time dose.

Depression And Vitamin D Deficiency: Causality Assessment And Clinical Practice Implications

Alessandro Cuomo1,*, Nicola Giordano2, Arianna Goracci1 and Andrea Fagiolini11Department of Mental Health and Molecular Medicine, University of Siena Medical Center and University of Siena School of Medicine, Siena, Italy2Department of Medical, Surgical and Neurological Sciences, University of Siena Medical Center and University of Siena School of Medicine, Siena, Italy

Corresponding Author:
Division of Psychiatry, University of Siena, Viale Bracci 1, 53100 Siena, ItalyTel: +39- 0577-586275Fax: +39-0577-233451

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Should You Take Dietary Supplements

Its important to have a conversation with your health care provider if youre considering taking supplements to increase your vitamin D levels. Even if you are vitamin D deficient, your vitamin D status is only one aspect of your mental health and well-being. Speaking with a doctor who is familiar with your medical history will be helpful in determining which path is right for you.

Additionally, you should speak with your health team before taking vitamin D supplements as taking too much can have adverse side effects. National Institutes of Healths Office of Dietary Supplements warns that too much vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, pain, dehydration, and kidney stones, among other side effects. Vitamin D can also interact with some medications, so dont start any supplementation plan before speaking with your physician.

Should You Take A Vitamin D Supplement

Vitamin D and Depression

The ODS recommends that adults age 19 to 70 get 15 micrograms daily. But before you take anything, be sure to speak with your doctor.

I like for people to get a blood test to see where they are before making a recommendation about supplementation, notes Moore. If you do need extra vitamin D, either D2 or D3 will work, and you may need 1,500 to 2,000 IU daily. In cases of extreme deficiency, your doctor may give you a vitamin D injection of 50,000 IU once a week for eight weeks to bring your levels up.

Start by getting more D from sunlight and fortified foods, such as milk alternatives and cereals, if you can. In order for vitamin D to be well absorbed, it needs to be taken with a source of fat, Moore notes.

When it comes to increasing your time in the sun, the ODS says theres no clear answer about how to balance exposure with cancer risk but points out that most people dont need much sunlight exposure to make enough vitamin D. And while sunscreen is essential in helping prevent skin cancer, keep in mind that it also blocks some of the suns UVB rays, which your body needs to make vitamin D.

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Vitamin D And Multiple Sclerosis

Finally, some people worry about vitamin D because there is some evidence that low vitamin D may be related to the development of multiple sclerosis. Some people then take vitamin D supplements and experience a reduction in their anxiety.

It may cause people to feel that perhaps vitamin D was necessary to reduce anxiety when in reality it was simply that you were less worried about MS. Vitamin D may be related to MS, but anxiety also causes MS fears and MS-like symptoms, and a few vitamin D supplements are unlikely to affect either.

Vitamin D Light And Seasonal Affective Disorder

As you will likely know, humans can get vitamin D from two sources. One is the food we eat, and the other is from exposure to sunlight. This allows us to make vitamin D ourselves.

Some scientists have investigated the link between sunlight, vitamin D and mental health issue such as depression and seasonal affective disorder. This is a type of depression which is closely linked with the seasons, usually meaning that people who suffer from it feel very low during the winter months but not as bad during spring and summer.

Researchers found that light therapy, which involves exposing yourself to a special bright lamp which mimics sunlight, may help SAD sufferers by reducing their depressive symptoms.

Another group of scientists looked at whether giving patients light therapy or a dose of vitamin D was more effective for patients with SAD. They found that the direct dose of vitamin D worked better to reduce their symptoms.

Furthermore, other research has discovered an interesting link between vitamin D deficiency and mental health complaints. For example. One study found that people over the age of 65 with minor depression or major depressive disorder had 14% lower levels of vitamin D than the control group.

As yet, it isnt totally clear how any potential link between vitamin D and mental health issues really works. However, some have suggested that it might be because of vitamin Ds role in brain development and in the hypothalamus.

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Assessment Of Depressive Symptoms

Depressive symptoms were measured by a short eight-item version of the validated Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The CES-D scale is not a diagnostic instrument for clinical depression but can be used to identify people at risk of depression in population-based studies. This short version had good internal consistency at each wave and comparable psychometric properties to the full 20-item CES-D. Respondents were asked whether they had experienced any depressive symptoms, such as restless sleep or being unhappy in the week prior to interview. Respondents who reported four or more depressive symptoms in the week prior to the interview were classified as reporting elevated depressive symptoms,.

Does Getting More Vitamin D Help With Depression

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

Improving Vitamin D levels may help promote general health and a stronger sense of well-being. However, research hasn’t proven that getting more vitamin D is a sufficient stand-alone treatment for depression.

For example, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found there was no effect when vitamin D was supplemented at 4,000 IUs in those with depression versus a placebo.

And a 2019 review of patients with depression that supplemented with 70 micrograms of vitamin D3 also found no change after supplementation.

“We do not have sufficient evidence to recommend this as a first line treatment for depression,” says Dorothy Sit, MD, a psychiatrist at Northwestern Medicine.

Instead, your doctor will likely recommend a combination of therapy and medication as the first step for treating depression. Taken together with some key lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and eating healthy, you may be able to reduce depressive symptoms.

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Can Taking Vitamin D Help Treat Depression

Quite a few scientific studies have looked into whether taking a vitamin D supplement can help with your mood.

Many of these have looked at the effects of vitamin D in the general population .

For example, one study involved giving outpatients a vitamin D supplement in either a high or low dose per day. The researchers asked the participants to fill in a wellbeing survey at the start and end of the study.

They found that both groups showed a significant improvement by the end of the study.

A separate study looked at the effects of vitamin D supplementation in overweight and obese people. The participants were divided randomly into three groups, which were given different doses of vitamin D. Everyone also took the same calcium supplement throughout the study.

At the end of the research period, the researchers discovered that the groups who had taken vitamin D were showing improvements in depression . The difference was even more pronounced in people who had scored as more depressed at the start of the study.

However, other scientists have pointed out that the study is limited because it only included one sub-set of society , and that the participants didnt need to have depression to take part.

Treating Vitamin D Deficiency

The best way to treat vitamin D deficiency is to:

  • Increase your exposure to the sun
  • Increase your intake of food fortified with vitamin D
  • Take supplements

Your doctor may also give you antidepressants to treat depression. You can take them separately or with dietary supplements. Join a support group, exercise regularly and practice proper sleeping habits.

Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is as vital for mental health as it’s essential for physical health. There is sufficient research to show that not having enough of the vitamin can lead to depression-like symptoms. People with depression have higher chances of having vitamin D deficiency. Prevent this from happening by adding food rich in Vitamin D to your diet and getting adequate sun exposure.

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Other Reasons That Low Vitamin D And Anxiety Are Linked

The other reasons that low levels of vitamin D may relate to anxiety have nothing to do with the vitamin at all. Instead, they have to do with lifestyles. There is a considerable amount of evidence that those that don’t exercise are more likely to develop anxiety. A lot of exercise takes place outdoors, so those that aren’t exercising will also show low vitamin D levels. It’s not the vitamin D that’s causing it – rather, it’s the failure of the individual to adequately stay active.

Similarly, spending time with friends in a relaxing environment also affects anxiety. Many people with anxiety either don’t spend time with their friends or stay indoors only and fail to get many new experiences. This may also contribute to both anxiety and vitamin d deficiency independently.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Mental Health and Depression ...

The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun, but if cloudy weather or other conditions get in the way of you achieving enough sun exposure, you may benefit from supplementing with vitamin D3 because food sources of the vitamin are not thought to be adequate to get you to optimal levels.

Your need to supplement may change throughout the year as your sun exposure changes.

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Vitamin D And History

Vitamin D is not believed to affect anxiety directly. Though it may be correlated with higher anxiety levels, there are likely reasons beyond the vitamin itself – reasons that will be discussed later in this article.

Historically, seeing the sun was often a cause for celebration and happiness. Sun meant food could grow, and that warmer weather was coming. Conversely, not seeing the sun often meant food was becoming scarcer and that important members of your village, tribe, or family, not to mention yourself, were at risk of dying from the cold. People became less active, and some cultures even took to hibernating like bears during the colder seasons. It is no wonder that cultures across the world, from the ancient Egyptians to the Mayans to the Greeks, once worshipped the sun as a god.

Today, it is believed that ancestral memory – which is, in some ways, short-term evolution – may play a role in why vitamin D and spending time outdoors makes people feel better. Just as humans feel an instinctive revulsion towards bitter flavors due to our ancestral association of bitterness with poisonous foods, the human body may have an instinctive awareness of its need for sunlight.

Can Vitamin D3 Cause Severe Depression

Question posted by shylog1 on 1 Sep 2010

Last updated on 13 August 2019 by devaneyad

I took vitamin D3 for 2 weeks, but after just a few days, I started to experience depression and by the end of the two weeks, I was having suicidal thoughts – I took 1000 units per day with a meal – also, the metallic taste was unbearable – other meds I take daily are Hydrochlorothiazide – 25mg, regular aspirin, and atenolol 25mg – I stopped taking Vit. D3 on Aug. 28 – in a few days my metallic taste was gone and my depression disappeared.


I am in the same situation as you and the girl in the last comment. Im not sure why it is happening, but I am just hoping to feel like myself again soon.


I am responding to this question because I had a similar experience with vitamin D3. Since I was seriously low in Vitamin D according to my lab/blood work, I started taking 1,000 IU vitamin D3. Both times I became seriously depressed after taking this supplement, where I could not even function and would break down crying for no reason… Once off this supplement, I eventually went back to being my normal happy self.

My new doctor suggested I try a different brand of vitamin D3, so I did… Unfortunately the same thing happened… and again, once off the supplement, I eventually went back to feeling much like my normal happy self again.


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Vitamin D Depressive Symptoms And Covid

  • 1Postgraduate Program in Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 2Translational Nutritional Neuroscience Working Group, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 3Nutrition Graduation Course, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 4Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 6Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, Kingston General Hospital, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 7Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada

How Can You Get Enough Vitamin D In The Winter

Low Vitamin D Linked to Depressed Teens

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 (

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How Vitamin D Depletes Your Magnesium Reserves And How You Can Counteract That

Magnesium is involved in at least 300 chemical reactions inside your body. Some of these involve vitamin D.

For example, vitamin D needs to be transformed, transported and activated. All these steps require magnesium and this will deplete your reserves.

Because of this, if you have been supplementing with vitamin D without also nourishing your body with sufficient magnesium, you may end up deficient.

Worse yet, vitamin D can cause your calcium blood levels to rise.

This is especially true if you are undergoing any form of high-dose vitamin D therapy.

Taking Vitamin D For Depression

Taking vitamin D for depression may help cheer you up especially if vitamin D levels in your body are low. However if you do suffer from depression it’s important to see a qualified health care provider in addition to getting plenty of vitamin D.

Vitamin D for depression

While getting enough vitamin D isn’t a guarantee that you’ll avoid depression it may significantly reduce your risk of depressive symptoms. Low concentrations of vitamin D in your body are associated with depression and the lower your vitamin D levels the higher your risk according to a review published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The widespread distribution of vitamin D receptors in the brain may play a role in vitamin D’s effects on your mood.

Vitamin D deficiency

Many people in the United States get too little vitamin D including people with depression and other mental disorders according to an article in Issues in Mental Health and Nursing. The article suggests that specific groups of people are at particular risk of developing vitamin D deficiency and depression including teenagers the elderly people who are obese and individuals with chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

Ways to boost vitamin D

Treating depression

For more information or if you have concerns about depression visit Reid Psychiatric Services for more information or call 983-3050.

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