Vitamin D deficiency can be linked to many health problems, including lower back pain, heart trouble, and depression. Linking vitamin D deficiency and depression makes intuitive sense. It is produced in the body when skin is exposed to light. During winter, many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) due to lack of exposure to sunlight. It makes sense there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression, which may surprise you.
Nearly 1,200 men and women between the ages of 65 to 95 years of age participated in a long-term study of aging. They did extensive blood work including vitamin D levels. Around 40% of men and nearly 57% of women had vitamin D deficiency. Nearly 170 people suffered from minor depression. Those suffering from depression had vitamin D levels lower by about 14% than others in the study. The level of a hormone called parathyroid hormone was elevated in people with depression. This hormone often increases as vitamin D levels increase.
It could, we just don’t know for sure. It could also be true that depression causes low vitamin D levels. There could also be something more complicated going on. If vitamin D deficiency caused depression, that would be fantastic news because vitamin D deficiency is easy to treat with increased exposure to sunlight and supplementation.
Overall, there is a correlation to low vitamin D levels and a link to symptoms of depression. Research has not yet shown for sure the cause of depression as linked to low vitamin D levels because someone is depressed. They could be depressed for other reasons. Lack of vitamin D may be one of the many factors that contribute to a depressed mood. Other ways to look at the issue include:
- People who have depression go outside less and are more likely to have inadequate access to sunlight
- The effects of vitamin D on depression may take a long time to work
- Some researchers have suggested giving supplements may work for depression when someone has a low level of vitamin D to begin with. Taking a vitamin D supplement may not help people who already have sufficient vitamin D levels
The best thing to do is see a treating physician if low vitamin D levels or depression is possibly present. The challenge is making sure to treat low vitamin D levels properly. It is difficult to diagnose a vitamin deficiency without proper testing but people in recovery often lack lots of nutrients. With the right support and help you may be able to figure out what is going on and get the right nutrients and supplements to create a better recovery plan for your mind, body, and soul.
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