Mental health is no more a taboo. Nowadays people are more open to the condition and want to get it treated. In ancient times, it was thought that mental health problems were the result of demonic activity.
Nobody was able to draw a connection between the lack of a certain nutrient that could be the cause of depression in people. The phenomena was later observed in areas with low sunlight and it was deduced that Vitamin D could be key to the whole puzzle.
This article will look into the vitamin and see how and if it can alter your mood. We are sure to uncover some interesting facts through this discussion.
What is depression?
Depression is one of the most misused words these days. People often confuse it with a feeling of sadness or grief due to obvious reasons like grieving a loved one.
However, people who are depressed could have their whole lives affected negatively and can hardly process any trauma. Moreover, some are also known to have various forms of depression without any apparent reason.
Contrary to popular belief, depression can hardly be cured. We could manage the symptoms with medications and Cognitive behavior therapy to help them go through daily life without any hindrance.
Though most people look sad when they are depressed, all depressed people are not sad. Some would actively be taking part in their life but be controlling themselves from feeling any pleasure or joy.
Does lack of Vitamin D make you depressed?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the growth and strength of muscles and bones. However to everyone’s surprise its absence has been linked to multiple diseases including depression.
The scientists were able to find a direct link between the lack of Vitamin D and mood disorders which was alarmingly high. Some of the plausible causes for this would be
People with depression hardly produce serotonin or happy hormones. Their neurotransmitters don’t secrete it enough which leads to scarcity.
However, eating Vitamin D could have some potential benefits in this area. Not only can it produce serotonin at huge levels but is also able to stabilize its flow. This could mean no depressive or mood disorders.
Mental health is linked to the workings of the brain. When the brain doesn’t work in tandem with our responses, our emotions may run haywire. Vitamin D is known to play a role here too.
It makes its presence known in multiple receptors that are located along the brain.
Many doctors opine that depression could be caused due to the swelling of the brain which checks it from secreting serotonin. After a while, this could become a habit.
Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory and therefore can help the health of the brain and its tissues extensively. Moreover, when there is an absence of Vitamin D receptors in the brain, the mood regulation system collapses and this could also lead to depression.
Seasonal Affective disorder
This is a kind of depression that affects people when there is no sunlight. People living in cold regions like the South Pole hardly get sunlight, a potent source of Vitamin D.
This is then known to affect the individual emotional quotient and push them to the far end of a pit. Doctors therefore request individuals to take vitamin D supplements to regulate its flow.
Having said this, we would also like you to consider the possibility of the depression being caused by something else. You should consult a doctor and let them make a healthy diagnosis of your condition.
Not taking Vitamin D could not only mean depression but many other disorders.
How to treat depression caused by lack of Vitamin D?
If the cause is identified as Vitamin D you might want to help treat the depression through this in the following ways
If you are not eating the natural source of Vitamin D, you might also want to take supplements. Go for a reputed brand with fewer additives to get maximum effect.
People residing in countries and regions where the sun is visible all the time could derive their Vitamin D from sunlight. In case, the sunlight comes out occasionally, make sure to take a walk in the bright lights with proper covering.
This is the easiest one and includes eating Vitamin D-rich substances. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other dairy products are filled with Vitamin D and can therefore be extremely healthy to be consumed.
Address the underlying factors
If you have any additional symptoms or the condition gets worse after doing everything in your might, you could consult a doctor and find out other levels that can affect the body.
Create a health plan
Mostly Vitamin D could enter our body but due to the lack of proper data and consumption rate, it causes commotion as it does. This also includes not recklessly consuming the food without routine or eating multiple meals a day.
Meet a doctor
As always meet a specialist, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist to help you get over the emotions and feelings you are overcome by. Though it may seem like a difficult step, it is the right one.
Albeit scarce, there is evidence to show that Vitamin D deficiency can lead to mental health issues and especially depression.
Many people who move from tropical countries to winter nations often find it to be a challenge and cannot cope with the missing sunlight. If the emotions are hard to control, consider medication instead of therapy could do any good.
Eating good food or doing your favorite hobbies could all alleviate the symptoms of depression including despondent emotions. Try and look for someone to confide in or at least attend a support group to understand how they deal with it.
Additionally, try to take stress as little as possible. Stressing is one of the major reasons why your sleep cycle and health cycle get disrupted. Practicing yoga could help you manage stress.
- Vitamin D: Fact sheet for health professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/. Accessed Dec. 6, 2020
- Silva MC, Furlanetto TW. Intestinal absorption of vitamin D: A systematic review. Nutr Rev 2018;76:60-76.