Depression can affect every aspect of your life. There are a number of reasons that you may be experiencing the mental health disorder, including an issue with your physical health. Research has shown that there is a link between vitamin D and depression so it’s important to understand how to get more vitamin D for your health and well-being.
Link Between Vitamin D and Depression
Research has found that a vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of issues for your physical health as well as your mental health. Studies conducted by the researchers have shown that there is a link between vitamin D and depression. In fact, it was discovered that individuals with low vitamin D levels were at a much greater risk for depression.
These researchers believe that, since vitamin D is so important to a healthy brain function, insufficient levels of the nutrient may play a significant role in depression and other mental health disorders. One study identified vitamin D receptors in the same areas of the brain that are associated with depression.
You may experience fatigue or drowsiness, muscle and joint weakness and pain, and aching bones if you have a vitamin D deficiency. You may also experience the symptoms of depression, which include:
- A feeling of sluggishness
- An overwhelming feeling of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities you once found enjoyable
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulties concentrating and forgetfulness
- Headaches or back pains
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
You should consult with your healthcare professional to determine the right level of vitamin D for your specific mental and physical health needs. In general, many experts state that 600-800 IU of daily vitamin D is sufficient. An IU is an international unit, the standard measure of potency for vitamins. The US Endocrine Society, however, recommends 1,500-2,000 IU per day. The US National Academy of Medicine suggests that a daily intake of up to 4,000 IU is safe for most people.
Ways to Get More Vitamin D
How do you get more vitamin D, for the benefit of your mental and physical health? Since the vitamin is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” spending time in the sun is one of the best ways to get more of the nutrient. Sun-derived vitamin D may actually circulate twice as long as the vitamin D you might get from food or supplements. Use caution while being exposed to the sun, though, to avoid sunburn and other harmful effects.
Eating fatty fish and seafood can also benefit you significantly, as they are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D available. Salmon contains the most amount of vitamin D. You can also benefit from eating tuna, oysters, mackerel, shrimp, anchovies, and sardines. Much of this type of seafood is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial for your heart health as well.
Other types of food that contain vitamin D include mushrooms, particularly those that grow in the wild that get more exposure to the sunlight. Egg yolks are also a good source of vitamin D. Some food products are fortified with vitamin D since few foods contain the nutrient naturally. Fortified foods include orange juice, ready-to-eat cereals, cow’s milk, other types of milk such as soy and almond, some yogurt, and tofu.
Vitamin D Supplements
Another way to get more vitamin D is to take a supplement each day. When you look for a supplement, you’ll see many brand names available. Choose one that has been independently tested. Nutritional supplements are not regulated in the US, but third parties such as the US Pharmacopeia (USP) do test for purity and quality.
There are two main types: D2 and D3. Most researchers think that D3 is more effective at raising and maintaining your overall vitamin D levels. To ensure you are getting the right dosage, it’s a good idea to have your vitamin D levels tested by a healthcare professional before taking supplements.
Hope by the Sea is Here to Help
If you are dealing with mental health issues such as depression, regardless of the underlying cause, the professionals at Hope by the Seaare here to help. We are a southern California mental health and addiction treatment center, focused on helping men and women begin the journey of recovery from mood disorders and addiction. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, so you can embrace your recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.
When you need help treating your mental health or substance use disorder, we offer the dual diagnosis treatment program you need. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!