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Is Vitamin D Good For Depression

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Best Foods To Have During Depression

Vitamin D for Depression

Where medications are doing their work inside your body, some food items can help you overcome the situation more fruitfully. A poor diet can be one of the reasons for depressive disorders and psychiatric disorders. Vitamins for depression are mandatory, but at the same time, your body also asks for a balanced diet. So, here are the five best foods to defeat depressive symptoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids strengthen your brain health.

For the good functioning of your brain, Omega 3 fatty acids play a vital role in your body. While depression, your brain is at the lowest point ever. Hence, it needs enough nutrition in brain development and works accordingly. It also helps in overcoming depressive symptoms.

You can find omega 3, in particular, fatty fish like salmon, which is an excellent nutritional supplement to omega 3. Besides, flaxseed oil, dark green vegetables , nuts, and canola oil are further brain development essential nutrients.

Carbs can lift your mood.

Excessive carbs can either worsen your condition, but eating the right carbs in the right amount can be a great choice to feel better. Whole-grain pieces of bread, foods full of fiber , vegetables like corns, beets, sweet potatoes are good sources of carbohydrates.


If you ask me the best mood lightning food during the depression, I will always prefer tomatoes. These are the powerhouse of many folic acids and alpha-lipoic acid that helps one fight depression.


Study Selection And Data Extraction

The initial search yielded 879 hits. We included only English language articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Editorials and commentaries were not included in the main review but only to support some recommendations, we make at the end. We also included systematic reviews and meta-analyses addressing focused research questions related to the focus areas, and the original articles included in these reviews were not examined separately. Based on these criteria and after eliminating duplicates, 148 articles were identified for potential inclusion, and after their full texts were examined, 61 papers were included in the present review after elimination of articles other than original research papers or those not relevant to the focus areas of the present review. All the three authors participated in study selection and reached a consensus regarding the papers to be included in the review. We neither performed a risk of bias assessment for individual studies nor computed effect estimates, as this was meant to be a narrative review.

Why Vitamin D Impacts Your Depression

Vitamin D was discovered a century ago by biochemist Elmer McCollum after a series of events. He and fellow researcher Marguerite Davis had identified Vitamin A in 1913 as they were involved in a long-term study to develop the perfect food for livestock.

Building on their study, British physician Edward Mellanby began conducting nutrition experiments aimed at treating rickets. He discovered that cod-liver oil cured rickets in laboratory animals, and theorized that Vitamin A might be the curative agent.

McCollum set out to test Mellanbys theory in 1922. He fed cod-liver oil that was free of Vitamin A to dogs with rickets and found that the animals recovered. This proved that another substance in the oil was responsible for the cure. McCollum called it Vitamin D.

Scientists eventually discovered that humans could get Vitamin D in more than one way. It is not only gained through diet. It can also be formed by the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.

More study of the vitamin revealed its essential role in the body. It helps the body build strong bones, regulates the level of phosphate and calcium, promotes cell growth, is involved in the neuromuscular system, and enhances the immune system. It also reduces inflammation in the body.

Some studies indicate that the risk of developing certain types of cancers may be connected with a deficiency in the vitamin.

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The Impact Of Sunlight On Vitamin D Status

Assessment of vitamin D status will need consideration of other factors, such as light therapy and sun exposure. Exposure to sunlight accounts for over 90% of the vitamin D requirement for most individuals . Amount of exposure to ultraviolet B radiation is affected by latitude, season, and time of the day. It has been reported that sun exposure is greatest in spring to early fall and during sunlight hours . Although places closer to the equator have greater sun exposure , recently it has been reported that in even in these areas vitamin D insufficiency persists . Since it is possible that persons who are outdoors may be more physically active, it is important to consider whether sunshine alone or in combination with physical activity is related to improved mood.

Mind, a charity group in the United Kingdom, has recommend Ecotherapy as a treatment to depression. Ecotherapy involves exercising outdoors instead of inside a facility. A research study was done with 20 people each walked outside and at an indoor shopping center . Participants then rated their feelings of self-esteem, depression, and tension after both walks. Improvements were greater when walking outdoors as compared to walking indoors . Lack of information regarding specific measurements and methods used for data collection are significant limitations of this report.

How To Get Enough Vitamin D

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Good sources of vitamin D in food include fatty fish , fish oil, fortified milk, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals.

You could also take a vitamin D supplement. The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends a daily intake of vitamin D of 600 IU for adults up to age 69 and 800 IU for adults 70 and older. The tolerable upper daily limit is 4,000 IU . Be careful when taking vitamin D supplementsvitamin D toxicity is possible .

If youre concerned that you might have a low level of vitamin D, talk with your healthcare provider, who can check your vitamin D status with a simple blood test.

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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.

Should I Start Taking Vitamin D For Depression

As of yet, there isnt sufficient evidence to suggest that taking vitamin D can treat depression.

However, it is true that many of us are likely to be deficient in this vitamin. In fact, in the UK, the NHS recommends that everyone should think about taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. This is because its unlikely that we get enough exposure to the sun to make all the vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a number of health problems such as rickets and poor teeth, bone and muscle health.

Its also worth noting that your skin tone can make a difference to how much vitamin D you can make from sunlight. People with a light skin tone appear to be better able to produce vitamin D from sunlight exposure than those with darker skin tones.

In short, increasing your intake of vitamin D may be a very wise health decision in any case, even if its effects on mental health are not completely clear.

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Gaps In Understanding Of The Relationship Between Vitamin D And Depression

Gaps in understanding of the association between vitamin D and depression

Much of the evidence linking vitamin D with depression in adults comes from cross-sectional studies. Cohort or case-control studies are few and RCTs, considered superior for establishing causality, are even fewer.

As the bulk of the literature is from observational studies, several questions remain. Chief among them is the issue of small and unrepresentative samples, varying measures of depression , and the potential problem of reverse causality. Given that two of the important negative studies came from China and Hong Kong, the issue of latitude moderating the association between vitamin D and depression needs further examination.

Owing to several sources of bias in existing studies and the danger of publication bias impacting the literature on vitamin D and depression, the possibility of a meta-analysis answering this question with finality remains bleak. More RCTs are therefore needed to examine the efficacy of supplemental vitamin D on prevention and treatment of depression.

Knowledge gaps in biological underpinnings between vitamin D and depression

Gaps in understanding the effect of vitamin D supplementation in depression

Treatment And Practice Implications For Inadequate Vitamin D

4 Key vitamins for depression and anxiety: are you missing these vital nutrients?

Sunshine has been suggested as an approach to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. Holick reported that sun exposure to the arms and legs for five to ten minutes, two or three times per week, may be beneficial for maintaining vitamin D sufficiency. However, because the time of day, season, and latitude influence sunlight absorption and thus, the amount of vitamin D produced, it becomes difficult to make universal recommendations. In addition, because the risk of skin cancer is associated with unprotected sun exposure, it is usually not recommended for treatment of inadequate vitamin D levels.

Nutritional sources of vitamin D are limited. Two forms of vitamin D are found in foods naturally . Certain fatty fish, fish oils, and eggs are some of the richest sources of Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol without fortification. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is found in some mushrooms. Vitamin D content of foods is lacking in commonly used databases . The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory is currently collaborating with experts to update existing information including evaluation of optimal analytical methods . Table 2 summarizes both naturally-occurring and fortified food sources of vitamin D based on currently available information. It is anticipated that these resources will be expanded in the near future.

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Vitamin D May Fight Disease

In addition to its primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in:

  • Reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis . A 2018 review of population-based studies found that low levels of vitamin D are linked with an increased risk of MS (

9 ).

In one study, people with obesity who received vitamin D supplements in addition to following a weight loss diet plan lost more weight and fat mass than the members of the placebo group, who only followed the diet plan .

In an older study, people taking daily calcium and vitamin D supplements lost more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The researchers suggest that the extra calcium and vitamin D may have had an appetite-suppressing effect .

The current research doesnt support the idea that vitamin D would cause weight loss, but there appears to be a relationship between vitamin D and weight.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest-quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab.

It’s important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

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People With Darker Skin Tones

People of color, particularly those with very dark skin, are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency because the natural sun protection that the melanin in their skin provides also slows the rate of vitamin D production.

For people with deep skin tones who live farther from the equator and/or donât spend a lot of time outdoors, more vitamin D may be necessary to reach optimal levels.

Recommended Daily Intake Of Vitamin D

Best Vitamin D And Depression Anxiety

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is only 600 IU. Only elderly people need a higher daily dosage of 800 IU.

On the other hand, the Endocrinology Society estimated that this dosage may not be enough for people who dont have adequate sun exposure. Hence, they recommend a daily vitamin D intake of 1,5002,200 IU, in order, to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

In any case, a daily dosage up to 4,000 IU is considered pretty safe.

Above all, you should check your blood levels concentrations of vitamin D3 regularly. Ideally, you should have vitamin D3 concentrations of 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL. If you have less, you may benefit from taking vitamin D supplements.

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How Can Vitamin D Deficiency Lead To Depression

A vitamin D deficiency can potentially lead to depression in a few critical ways. First, vitamin D can inhibit specific proteins associated with emotional health issues. These proteins are called cytokines and are involved in cell-to-cell communication in the body.

A 2014 study in Sweden discovered that people who have attempted suicide had high levels of these pro-inflammatory cytokines. Vitamin D is known to reduce the level of these cytokines. Some researchers believe that by maintaining healthy levels of these proteins, Vitamin D may prevent depression from progressing to suicidal thoughts.

Second, serotonin levels are affected by Vitamin D. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps brain cells relay messages to each other. Serotonin is involved in the regulation of mood, sleep, appetite, memory, and learning. Many scientists believe there is a connection between low levels of serotonin and depression.

There are many theories to explain this connection. Some researchers believe that depression occurs when the brain fails to regenerate cells. Since serotonin seems to play a role in this regeneration process, low levels of the neurotransmitter may help inhibit the production of new brain cells. This could then pave the way for depressions onset.

Studies have found that exposure to sunlight can increase dopamine levels in the body. This is likely due to increased vitamin D levels that come from sunlight exposure.

Does Getting More Vitamin D Help With Depression

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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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.

Depression & Anxiety Are They The Same

Ask Dr. Doreen: Do You Believe that Vitamin D can Help Depression?

Depression and anxiety are two different but go hand in hand. Depression is a state where a person is mentally unstable, with sadness, loneliness, and bad mental health. Anxiety, on the other side, is a condition where a person gets worried and annoyed about every small situation.

Research shows that more than 75% of case studies have anxiety traces with depression.

Although they have similar symptoms in ones mental health. For example-

  • Irritability
  • Bad concentration
  • Uncontrollable emotions

Such situations can be treated by medications, therapy, and connecting with people. If you possess such symptoms, then make sure to consult a medical professional with adequate treatment facilities. Moreover, those medicines should be medically reviewed.

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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,.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment In California

Vitamin D may be a natural way to help reduce symptoms of mental illness. It could act as a tool to help dual diagnosis treatment with fewer side effects. At Montare Behavioral Health, we believe a combination of hard-science techniques with holistic medicine is key to a fleshed-out treatment plan.Contact us now to see how our personalized plans help patients overcome fmental health disorders.

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