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Which Vitamin D Is Good For Depression

Philips Smartsleep Light Therapy Lamps

How can vitamin D affect depression?

Philips designed their SmartSleep Sleep and Wake Up lamps to help people who have difficulty getting to sleep or waking up.

These lamps prepare the body for sleep by simulating the sunset, gradually decreasing the light and sound in the room. In the morning, the lamps do the same in reverse by simulating the sunrise.

People who use these products say that they help them get to sleep and wake up more naturally, allowing them to feel more energetic during the day.

Many People Are Vitamin D Deficient

While those with specific illnesses related to vitamin D deficiencies clearly benefit from more sunlight, light therapy, or vitamin D supplementation, it is worthwhile for everyone to consider boosting their sunshine and vitamin D consumption quota.

It has been estimated that around a billion people in the world may have deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels. Research shows that many Americans regularly get less than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D and show deficient levels of the nutrient,

Managing Vitamin D Deficiency In Psychosis And Depression: Do We Know When To Screen And Treat

As already noted, definitions of vitamin D deficiency vary. In the UK, the National Osteoporosis Society set the following serum 25D thresholds: < 30 nmol/L is deficient 3050 nmol/L may be inadequate in some people > 50 nmol/L is sufficient for almost the whole population . Public Health England recommends that all adults consider taking vitamin D supplements in the autumn and winter months, with year-round supplementation advised for those with darker skin pigmentation . What does this mean for the clinical care of people with schizophrenia and depression? Should we test all patients for vitamin D deficiency? How should we interpret test results and what treatment might be considered? The answer is that we do not yet know whether and how to adapt the general population advice for use in people with psychosis and depression.

It is more likely than not that a person with established psychosis will have suboptimal vitamin D levels , and a pragmatic approach is reasonable when considering vitamin D testing: as in high-risk general population groups, a presumptive diagnosis of insufficiency could be made, based on risk factors, without the need for testing of vitamin D levels unless the individual is symptomatic .

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Is Vitamin D From The Sun Enough To Fight Depression

Outdoor exercise is beneficial for decreasing depression symptoms. For instance, a 20-minute outdoor walk, 5 times a week helped women with mild depression symptoms.

Above all, outdoor moderate exercise is free and without any advert effects!

But, how much vitamin D can the body synthesize after sun exposure? There are many factors that affect the synthesis of vitamin D from sun exposure, such as latitude, season, and time of the day. For instance, sun exposure is greater in spring to early fall.

We can produce up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day from sun exposure during summer. On the contrary, the human body can synthesize only 220 IU in winter.

Hence, most people need vitamin D supplementation during winter. People with depression could benefit, as well. Especially, if theyre deficient in vitamin D.

Certainly, you should consult your health care provider before taking any supplementation.

Diagnosis Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D infographics (1 image summaries)

To diagnose vitamin D deficiency, your doctor will order a test to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood.

To diagnose depression, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. You may also be asked to complete a self-assessment. Depression cannot be diagnosed using a blood test.

Your doctor will also ask you questions and perform a physical exam to determine if you have depression. And there may be other exams and lab tests to rule out any other potential underlying issues, as well as to determine whether your symptoms of depression may be linked to a vitamin D deficiency.

You can treat vitamin D deficiency and its symptoms by increasing your intake of this vital nutrient. Ways you can consume more vitamin D include:

  • taking vitamin D supplements
  • increasing your sun exposure
  • eating foods containing vitamin D or that are fortified with vitamin D

To treat depression, psychotherapy and antidepressant medications are common treatments. They can be incorporated separately or in combination with dietary changes, depending on your symptoms and treatment goals.

If your depression is related to a vitamin D deficiency, increasing your vitamin D may help to relieve your symptoms.

Speak with your doctor about your treatment options and what would work best for you.

People with depression can also take steps to alleviate symptoms of depression. Some of your options may include:

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Is There A Link Between Vitamin D And Depression

The connection between depression and Vitamin D likely started first being researched because of one type of depression called seasonal affective disorder . SAD occurs during specific times of the year, usually when there is less sunlight. Like other types of depression, people who have SAD experience symptoms such as intense exhaustion, hopelessness, trouble concentrating, and little interest in activities they used to enjoy. Unlike other forms of depression, however, SAD is cyclical. People with SAD have the same symptoms every year, usually starting in fall and continuing through the winter months.

People who experience SAD can usually benefit from treatments utilized for other forms of depression. The symptoms are generally the most intense during the winter months, so many of the treatments for SAD relate to helping the patient receive more health benefits of sunlight and light therapy.

What Is Vitamin D

Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is a nutrient that your body needs to make your muscles move, help your nerves send signals, and allow your immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Vitamin D is also important in ensuring bones can absorb the calcium they need to be strong and healthy.

There are two kinds of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is mostly found in plants, mushrooms, and yeast. Vitamin D3 can be found in oily fish and is also made in the body during sun exposure. Additionally, vitamin D3 is later converted to 25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol, which helps turn on and off the genes that allow vitamin D to carry out its function in the body.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, foods that are good sources of vitamin D include:

  • Beef liver
  • Fish
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified milk and orange juice

Your body breaks vitamin D down into its active form, called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D which is also known as calcitriol and can be found as a supplement. This active form of vitamin D can affect the cells involved in the immune system.

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Epidemiology Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a global problem more than a billion people worldwide are believed to have suboptimal levels . A recent systematic review of 195 studies including 168 000 people from 44 countries identified that only 11% had 25D levels > 75 nmol/L, the level classed as sufficient. A summary of results is given in Table 1.

TABLE 1 Vitamin D status in populations worldwide

25D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Source: Hilger et al .

The Top Herbal Supplements For Depression

Vitamin D Deficiency or Depression?

Herbs have been used traditionally to treat depression in every culture.

Apparently, depression is not just a modern problem.

Heres a look at some of the best herbal supplements those with a long history of safe use that have also been scientifically proven to be effective.

Caution:If you currently take a prescription antidepressant, talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication.

1. Arctic Root

Arctic root is found mainly in cold Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Its been used since the time of the ancient Greeks to boost overall physical and mental vitality.

This herb is a top-rated adaptogen, a natural substance that increases your resilience to physical and emotional stress.

It works by increasing the activity of brain chemicals that impact your mood such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Arctic root has been shown to reduce depression symptomsfaster than antidepressant medications.

Its particularly useful for depression accompanied by anxiety and fatigue, depression caused by seasonal affective disorder , or when you need results quickly.


Does this sound like you?

Fuzzy thinking, foggy focus, forgetfulness?

Lack of energy and drive?

Struggle to learn and make decisions?

A quality brain supplement can make a big difference.

What makes ashwagandha a standout is its ability to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

3. Chamomile

4. Curcumin

6. Saffron

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Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Anxiety But Not Depression Symptoms In Patients With Vitamin D Deficiency

Department of Sleep Disorders, Affiliated Psychological Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China

Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Anhui Mental Health Center, Hefei, China

Department of Sleep Disorders, Affiliated Psychological Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China

Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Anhui Mental Health Center, Hefei, China

Department of Sleep Disorders, Affiliated Psychological Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China

Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Anhui Mental Health Center, Hefei, China

Department of Sleep Disorders, Affiliated Psychological Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China

Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Anhui Mental Health Center, Hefei, China

Department of Sleep Disorders, Affiliated Psychological Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China

Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Anhui Mental Health Center, Hefei, China

Department of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China



Peng Zhu, Department of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health, School of Public Health Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China.

Department of Sleep Disorders, Affiliated Psychological Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China

Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Anhui Mental Health Center, Hefei, China



Hefei Fourth People’s Hospital, Hefei, China

Effects Of Vitamin D Supplementation On Mental And Physical Well Being

The use of vitamin D supplementation has been examined for its effects on mood outcomes, particularly in healthy persons. In one study , 250 healthy women were randomized to daily vitamin D or a placebo for a period of one year. Both groups received supplemental calcium during the trial. Findings indicated no difference in mood scores between the two groups. In addition, changes in vitamin D levels were not correlated to changes in mood scores. Results suggested that the dose of vitamin D may have been insufficient to cause a significant treatment difference between groups. randomly assigned 44 healthy persons to varying doses of vitamin A plus one of the following: 400 IU of vitamin D/day or 800 IU of vitamin D/day, or a placebo for a period of five days. The Positive and Negative Affect Scale was used to assess mood at the end of the five days. Results showed enhanced positive affect for the vitamin D treatment groups when compared to the placebo group . In addition, although both vitamin D treatment groups experienced a reduction in negative affect when compared to the placebo group, it was not statistically significant. Although the study demonstrated positive benefits in persons who were healthy, the effect on persons with depression or mood problems was not explored.

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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 don’t spend a lot of time outdoors, more vitamin D may be necessary to reach optimal levels.

Classification Of Vitamin D Status

How Does Vitamin D Affect Mood?

Serum levels of 25D, the main circulating form of vitamin D, are usually taken as a proxy of vitamin D status , as it is a more stable compound than the physiologically active form 1,252D3, with higher serum concentrations and a longer half-life .

Controversy remains about what vitamin D levels are optimal , insufficient and deficient, and we show typical thresholds in Box 1. The definitions of sufficiency as a vitamin D level > 75nmol/L are based on observations relating to the role of 25D in calcium homeostasis and optimal calcium absorption. Parathyroid hormone levels decline with reducing concentrations of 25D, although this decline plateaus and reaches a nadir at 25D concentrations of 75100 nmol/L . Intestinal calcium absorption is optimal at concentrations > 80 nmol/L . The definition of vitamin D sufficiency of > 50 nmol/L 25D is based on the observation that parathyroid hormone levels normalise with 25D concentrations of > 50 nmol/L similar levels are required to prevent osteomalacia and to ensure optimal bone function .

The US Institute of Medicine recommends vitamin D levels > 20 ng/mL to optimise skeletal benefits, based on trials in the general population . Most recently, the Endocrine Society’s clinical guidelines, based on studies of people at high risk for vitamin D deficiency, recommend that a 25D concentration > 30 ng/mL be attained to improve outcomes .

BOX 1 Definitions of vitamin D status

Most common thresholdsFootnote a

Deficiency: < 50 nmol/L

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Tips For Getting More Sun Exposure

If you’re interested in exploring adding more sunlight into your life, particularly to monitor if it impacts your mental health, you might consider a few options.

  • Track your sun exposure: Try keeping a log of how much time you spend outside in direct sunlight, what the weather was like, and how much vitamin D you consume. Write down how more or less sun makes you feel.
  • Get outside more often:Whenever you need to take a quick break from work or just want to stretch, try doing so outside when it’s nice and sunny. Eventually, you may be able to see patterns that help you understand how sunlight may affect your wellbeing. Discuss with your doctor any concerns you may have about your sun exposure and vitamin D levels and how any deficits may play a role in your physical and mental health.

What About Vitamin D Deficiency And Anxiety

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.

There’s 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.

Related Reading

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Is There A Link Between Vitamin D And Depression That Is Not Seasonal

There have been numerous pieces published about how vitamin D and depression seem to be related. Many people with all types of depression, not just SAD, have been shown to have a vitamin D deficiency. One recently published review found substantial evidence for a significant relationship between depression and vitamin D deficiency, but also highlighted the need for more studies to establish the exact causal relationship between the two. It is currently unclear if a vitamin D deficiency puts people at greater risk for depression, if people who experience depression are more likely to develop vitamin D deficiency, or if neither of these is true.

Correlation does not equal causation. Even if it has been observed multiple times by multiple scientific teams that people with depression are more likely to have or be at risk for vitamin D deficiency, we have yet to prove that they directly affect one another. People with depression might simply have lower levels of vitamin D because they tend to exercise less, go outdoors less, and adhere less often to a nutritious diet.

Many People Get Depressed During The Winter Months When We Produce Less Vitamin D So Can Supplemental Vitamin D Cure Seasonal Depression And Maybe Other Types Of Depression No Alas But It May Help

Vitamin D for Depression

This page is regularly updated, to include the most recently available clinical trial evidence.

Each member of our research team is required to have no conflicts of interest, including with supplementmanufacturers, food companies, and industry funders. The team includes nutrition researchers, registereddietitians, physicians, and pharmacists. We have a strict editorial process.

This page features 28 references. All factual claims are followed by specifically-applicable references. to see the full set of referencesfor this page.

The ever-popularvitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, and sunshine is implicated in mood. So it makes sense that researchers have intently explored vitamin D supplementation for depression supplemental vitamin D is relatively inexpensive and safe, and may provide a variety of health benefits beside brightening your mood.

But depression is complex. There are many possible causes, and no magic bullet. While you may not expect vitamin D to be a magic bullet per se, you may want to understand the current state of the evidence: what do trial results show, and how exactly exactly does vitamin D impact mood-related pathways?

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Why Should I Supplement With Vitamins D And K With Sea

Customer: To me, there’s nothing better than being outside on a really nice day. Whether I’m working in my garden or taking a walk with my family, we all love the outdoors. But during my last checkup, the doctor noticed that I wasn’t getting enough vitamin D.

Michael A. Smith, MD: From your brain to your heart, your bones to your immune system, vitamin D affects nearly every cell in your body and is critical for optimal health. Even if you spend a lot of time outdoors, your body may not be producing enough of this important vitamin. In fact, studies show that people are really low in vitamin Dand that’s why doctors are recommending it to their patients more than ever.

Customer: So, my body needs more vitamin D, but there are all these different doses and options. How can I decide which is best for me?

Michael A. Smith, MD: Like all of our products, Life Extensions Vitamin D3 is made with the highest quality standards. We recommend taking 5,000 international units a day, but we offer doses ranging from 1,000 to 7,000 units depending on your vitamin D blood level. Be sure to check with your doctor to see which one is right for you. We also offer Vitamins D and K with Sea-Iodine for a complete vitamin D formulation.

Customer: Three weeks in, and vitamin D has really made an impact on my whole life. I have more energy and overall, I feel for lack of a better wordsunnier.

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