Studies have linked vitamin D deficiencies with a variety of depressions and mood disorders including Alzheimer’s.
Seasonal (SAD) is believed to be caused by lowered levels of vitamin D due to lack of sunlight – and trials using vitamin D supplementation are showing a positive promise.
The recommended amount of sun – depending on skin tone – is around 30 minutes of full exposure a day. A sunburn is not helpful and can damage the skin.
It is the UVB in the sunlight that produces the vitamin D in your skin. Wearing sunblock will inhibit this positive effect.
Another consideration after coming in from the sun is knowing it takes another 48 hours for your skin to turn the sun rays into vitamin D and in the meantime if you scrub your skin with soap and water you can actually wash off the vitamin D precursors.
Vitamin D and Obesity
Obesity also has a strong association with depression. There are a lot of chicken and egg theories with this one. As in; is it the obesity that is causing the depression, causing the excessive eating of non-healthy foods in turn causing a lower vitamin D. Or did it all start with the vitamin D deficiency, causing the depression that then caused the eating. Either way, studies on vitamin D supplementation has also shown promise among depressed, obese persons.
“Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients — and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels — might be useful,”
~ Dr. E. Sherwood Brown
Postnatal depression is another area of study. The positive aspect of ensuring the mother has adequate amounts of vitamin D will pass through her milk to her baby too.
Elderly, Vitamin D, and Depression
As we advance in age it has been noted that elderly persons often suffer from a lack of vitamin D. Coincidentally (or not) this is often accompanied with depression. There is a greater chance of depression symptoms when the individual also has high levels of parathyroid hormone.
Although there is some disagreement whether there is enough proof to actually prescribe a vitamin D supplement, I will confess, it is the ONLY supplement I do take. This is why I prefer Cod Liver Oil to any other supplement.
Happy foods to eat
Rather than just relying on pills and supplements – what if a person actually wanted to eat their way to happiness?
A diet of good food that is balanced and high in vitamins and nutrients would be a good start. Whenever we are short on any vitamin or nutrient it affects us one way or another.
There are many ways to get a healthy balanced diet, and you are welcome to read what I usually eat (most days) and downloading your own copy of “Eat Healthy Lose Weight”.
Mediterranean diet defeating depression
The Prasouda diet is indicated in many studies of persons who have lived healthily for a hundred years or more. It originates in the areas of the Mediterranean, Grease and Italy. A fairly simple to follow diet made of whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish and legumes. There are some wonderfully simple to prepare and tasty recipes too.
This diet has an abundance of antioxidants from such vegetables as broccoli, collard greens, pumpkin etc. This is believed to have a positive effect on the brain because without antioxidants free radicals can be destructive to the brain.
People who have adopted a Prasouda lifestyle live longer, have lower incidence of chronic disease and are happier and more relaxed.
Carbs and Depression
Long known as “Comfort Food” carbs are good for you. There may be a link with dieters who have been dieting too often and using a low-carb diet to try and speed up their weight loss.
In some studies the reduced carbs seem to coincide with reduced serotonin (the feel good chemical in the brain)
Protein and depression
Protein is another important source of happiness. Oily fish come with natural vitamin D. Plus fish and chicken have tyrosine that give your brain more happy drugs like norepinephrine and dopamine.
It almost seems obvious that there is a link between low vitamin D levels and the occurrence of depression.