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Does Vitamin D Help With Stress

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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How Vitamin D And Anxiety Are Linked

We know that low vitamin D levels can lead to depression in some people, and through that depression will no doubt lead to some form of anxiety, since depression and anxiety are somewhat linked themselves. Another way low vitamin D levels will lead to anxiety are the fact if your deficient in vitamin D then youll not be in a state of homeostasis, and this in itself will throw you off, and in turn not feeling right youll be more likely to put off work, social obligations, going out in general all these things can lead straight to anxiety.

How To Increase Vitamin D And Decrease Anxiety

While vitamin D itself is unlikely to be causing your anxiety, that doesn’t mean it can’t, and the activities that you do to help increase vitamin D are valuable for your anxiety anyway. Getting outside will help you get what vitamin D you can, although there are also nutritional supplements available. Getting more sunlight by going outside more often can reduce the symptom of anxiety associated with SAD , and it can also give you a chance to reduce your anxiety by way of activities such as the following:

  • Exposure Therapy Exposure therapy is recommended by some therapists as a way of overcoming your anxiety. If you have social phobia and are nervous around other people, for example, casually taking a walk outside in a park or at a zoo is a great way to exposure yourself to your fears in a safe and controlled environment, thereby teaching your brain over time that excessive fear responses in these situations are unnecessary.
  • Creating a Routine Making going outside into a comforting routine helps to relieve anxiety by providing yourself with a positive event in your day that is reliable, predictable and stable. Anxiety can make you feel like your life or your surroundings are out of your control. You can impose control on your life in a positive way by setting a time for yourself to head out the door for 30 minutes or more and walking around the block, which can be something you do in evening or in the mornings, or going on regular walks or hikes on weekends.

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The Link Between A Vitamin D Deficiency And Anxiety

Multiple studies illuminate the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. The Journal of Diabetes research conducted a study to see if supplements could improve mental health and type 2 diabetes. Forty-six women participated in the study for six months and completed a survey about their mental health. The study found that taking vitamin D supplements significantly decreased anxiety levels in women suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Another study found that those suffering from anxiety had lower levels of calcidiol. Broken down vitamin D produces the byproduct, calcidiol. The study notes that low levels of vitamin D are thought to increase the chances of depression, diabetes, and cancer. The study also notes that literature from thousands of years ago hints at the link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. An ancient text writes about poor mental health after lack of sun exposure.

What About Vitamin D Deficiency And Anxiety

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Anxiety can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, such as feeling tense or having a sense of panic as well as physical symptoms like rapid breathing and an increased heart rate, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Thereâs not a lot of research into a potential relationship between vitamin D and anxiety.

One study compared the amount of calcidiol in small groups of adults with depression, anxiety symptoms and a symptom-free control group. It found lower levels of calcidiol in the study participants with anxiety disorders than in the control group, according to the results published in Physiological Research in June 2015.

Taking vitamin D supplements was effective at improving anxiety symptoms in patients with depression and low vitamin D levels, according to a September 2020 study published in Brain and Behavior.

But as the study authors note, additional studies are needed in this area to validate these findings.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder And Anxiety

Seasonal affective disorder , once considered its unique disorder, has been renamed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a type of depression. It is now referred to as a specification only, i.e., depression with seasonal pattern.

People who experience seasonally patterned depression are known to show symptoms that include feelings of anxiety, and other symptoms that are reminiscent of those related to anxiety, such as irritability, antisocial behavior, insomnia, reduced sex drive, decreased appetite and weight loss. Some of these symptoms, like insomnia, may also contribute to the development of anxiety.

Your anxiety, therefore, can depend on how much sun you are exposed to if you are an individual who is particularly strongly affected by seasonal shifts.

Increase Your Vitamin D Through Food

The best way to make vitamin D is to spend a little time in the sunshine without sunscreen or to eat foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D. These are foods like:

  • Fatty fish
  • High quality cod liver oil
  • Egg yolks from pastured hens
  • Liver from grass-fed animals

These foods are rich in natural vitamin D3. Avoid foods that are fortified with synthetic vitamin D2, as this form of vitamin D can be toxic in the human body.

A key Body Ecology Principle when eating the above foods is to food combine properly 80% vegetables, 20% proteins. It is also crucial to digest your proteins well by using enzymes designed for protein and drinking a few ounces of a probiotic beverage with your protein meal.

The best way to use vitamin D3 is to manage stress and make sure that you are asleep well before midnight. A good nights sleep will help to regulate cortisol levels and promote the use of vitamin D3 keeping your body and your brain strong!

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Is Vitamin D Linked To Depression

Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Researchers behind a 2013 meta-analysis noticed that study participants with depression also had low vitamin D levels. The same analysis found that, statistically, people with low vitamin D were at a much greater risk of depression.

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Chances are you are not getting enough vitamin D.

An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Individuals at high risk for vitamin D deficiency include those living far from the equator, those with conditions such as obesity, liver disease, celiac, and renal disease, the elderly, and those with darker skin.

Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included more than 15,000 adults, indicated that individuals with darker skin have lower vitamin D levels. Dark-skinned individuals’ high level of melanin impairs absorption of vitamin D, which is made when skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation found in natural sunlight.

Regardless of cause, deficiency of vitamin D has significant medical and psychological consequences. Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function.

Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that is a hormone. After it is consumed in the diet or absorbed in the skin, vitamin D is transported to the liver and kidneys where it is converted to its active hormone form. Vitamin D as a hormone assists with the absorption of calcium, helping to build strong bones, teeth and muscles.

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A: Avocado + Other Healthy Fats

Avocado and other healthy fats, such as omega 3s, found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, olives, eggs, butter, and fish help feed your adrenal glands. Fatty acids are the back bone of hormones. Your adrenal glands need fats to be able to produce all of the necessary hormones they are responsible for.

  • Tip: Add a healthy fat to your meals and snacks for an easy way to increase your healthy fat intake- throw some avocado on top of your eggs in the morning, add a bit of extra oil when roasting veggies for dinner, add a hardboiled egg to your salad at lunch. Snack on olives, and add fish into your weekly dinner rotation.

  • A fish oil or other omega 3 supplement can help fill in gaps in your diet.

Assessment And Groups At Risk For Low Vitamin D

The signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency vary depending on the age and severity. For children, there has been a reappearance of rickets from vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms of rickets can vary and may include bone pain, delayed tooth eruption, and poor growth . Deficient adults may experience muscle weakness, bone pain, difficulty walking, and frequent falls . Persons more at risk for vitamin D include those with malabsorption syndromes such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and chronic diarrhea .

Other factors may influence the availability and metabolism of this nutrient. Thus, various population groups have been identified as high risk for vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. Those with limited sun exposure, due to being homebound, living in latitudes > 34° north or south, and/or clothing that covers most of the body, are at risk for vitamin D deficiency . Similarly, older adults are often at risk of vitamin D inadequacy. This is due to reduced subcutaneous production and intestinal absorption . When coupled with limited sun exposure, which is the case for many older adults, the risk increases .

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Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic Acid is one of the lesser known B-Vitamins to the average individual, as it is not commonly used as a natural health supplement. But it’s still an important one. It plays a role in the creation of the acetylcholine neurotransmitters, oxidizes fatty acids, and more. It also produces CoEnzyme-A.

It’s rare to be deficient in B5. The name itself translates almost literally to “from everywhere” because it’s found in nearly every type of food.

While Pantothenic Acid may help with a variety of unfortunate and painful conditions, it does not appear to play any role in anxiety or stress whatsoever.

Verdict: No known benefit

Vitamin D Affects More Than Our Bones

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Studies have found deficiency across a full spectrum of age groups.

In most people, this deficiency is subclinical. This means that while there may not be any visible signs or symptoms of deficiency, the body is quietly breaking down.

While extreme deficiency of vitamin D will show up in the body as rickets, which is the softening and weakening of bones, we see signs of deficiency in:

You can get natural vitamin D by spending a little time in the sun without sunscreen. But if you dont go to sleep before midnight, stress hormones in your body may become irregular, decreasing your vitamin D uptake!

  • Immune system disorders
  • Cancer
  • Dementia

A 2008 study reported that vitamin D deficiency is common among otherwise healthy infants and toddlers, with one third of children showing signs of demineralization. Other research points out that the elderly as well as healthy young adults are at risk, and that vitamin D deficiency typically accompanies other serious health conditions, like heart disease.

The key to understanding this deficiency lies in hormone receptors. And while not every hormone will find a receptor in the body, a hormone without one is like a key with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Vitamin D functions as a steroid hormone in the body. Other steroid hormones that you may be familiar with are testosterone and estrogen.


Certain things are known to inhibit or promote the expression of vitamin D receptor.

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B: B Vitamins + Blood Sugar Balance

B vitamins: Not only do your adrenal glands require B vitamins in order to do their job, but stress actually causes your body to use up your B vitamins at a quicker rate than normal. That means that when youre under stress, you need extra B vitamins. B vitamins such as B1 , B5 , and B12 all directly affect your adrenal glands cortisol response to stress. Vitamin B3 and B12 also play a role in your sleep/wake cycle which can be affected by stress and cortisol.

  • Tip: Eat animal protein like meat, seafood and eggs to make sure youre getting enough B vitamins in your diet. Typically at least 3 servings/day but this varies from person to person.

Blood sugar Balance: Keeping your blood sugar stable helps decrease stress on your adrenal glands and promotes a healthy insulin curve. The goal is to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster that is caused by spikes and dips in blood sugar due to high sugar intake, lack of fats and fiber, lack of exercise and dehydration. The spikes and dips that create that blood sugar roller coaster lead to inflammation, stress, anxiety, and poor energy, focus, and sleep.

  • Tips: Eat balanced meals regularly. You want fat and protein and fiber at every meal.

  • Avoid sugary foods and beverages, and any foods marked fat-free or low-fat as these tend to cause a spike in blood sugar which leads to an inevitable dip in blood sugar.

  • Also make sure to exercise and drink plenty of water!

Impact Of Vitamin D Deficiency On Mental Health

The body needs Vitamin D at the proper level for it to function as it should.

How Vitamin D Works In The Body

Your muscles, heart, brain, and immune system have vitamin D receptors. The body transports the vitamin to the kidneys and liver, where it converts into an active hormone. In this form, it assists the body in absorbing calcium.

Your body acquires vitamin D through sun exposure. Certain foods and supplements can also be sources of vitamin D. Dark-skinned people have a high level of melanin.

Itâs the component that determines coloring in the human and animal world. This pigmentation prevents the skin from absorbing vitamin D correctly.

How Vitamin D Deficiency Leads to Mental Health Effects

Low levels of the vitamin may contribute to schizophrenia in adults, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. Other health problems that can arise from the deficiency include:

  • Low bone density
  • Excessive weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleepingââ

If you experience any of these symptoms similar to depression, have your vitamin D levels checked. Your doctor will do a test to determine the level of the vitamin in your blood.

For depression diagnosis, you may have to complete a self-assessment test. A blood test canât diagnose depression but may test other conditions that cause depressive symptoms.

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What Are The Consequences Of Deficiency

Evidence shows that low vitamin D levels are more common in people with mood disorders, anxiety and depression. But the relationship between stress and vitamin D can be a bit of a vicious circle. For example, cortisol, a hormone produced when the brain is stressed, can prevent the vitamin D receptor from binding to the vitamin.

Vitamin D deficiency seems to have not only medical but also psychological consequences. The vitamin activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters , affecting both brain function and our mood. In 2005, a study identified vitamin D receptors in the same areas of the brain associated with depression .

Receptors are present in neurons and glia , including the cingulate cortex between the two hemispheres and the hippocampus. These areas have been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression.

How Do You Know If You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D

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The government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition have been conducting a detailed and comprehensive report on vitamin D. In its draft report,4 published in 2015, SACN revealed that around 10 million people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D, with levels especially low in the winter. People with darker skin are more prone to deficiency, as are the over 65s and those who spend little time out of doors. As a result of these findings, they recommended that vitamin D supplements should be more widely available to at-risk groups.

Your chosen form of exercise can also have an impact on your vitamin D levels. If your sport takes you outside a lot, you may be exposed to more sunlight, increasing your vitamin D intake in the process, for instance. However, if your workouts are all in the gym, if you live somewhere without much sunshine, or if you protect your skin from the sun by covering up or wearing sunscreen, you’re unlikely to get much vitamin D from the sun.

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