D is for depression

Vitamin D is a hormone that is created in the skin from exposure to the sun.

by Dr. Tara Peyman — 

Many people are aware that vitamin D is important for bone health. Research is emerging that confirms the importance of vitamin D for prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and a variety of other diseases. Recent studies also have shown that vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of depression, as well.

Vitamin D is a hormone that is created in the skin from exposure to the sun. It is then activated in the liver and kidneys. You can also take in vitamin D from certain foods, including fish and eggs. D is one of the vitamins that can be stored in the body, along with vitamins A, E and K; supplementation in the form of liquid drops or capsules can be very useful for improving these stores.

The association between low vitamin D levels and depression is particularly strong in people older than age 60 and people who live in areas with fewer sunny days. Some people with depression have seasonal affective disorder, which involves fluctuations of mood with the change of weather or seasons. If a person is already deficient in vitamin D, lack of exposure to the sun only worsens the deficiency, which can exacerbate depression.

It is important to have your vitamin D levels tested by a doctor with a simple blood test. Normal levels are between 30 to 100 ng/mL; however, a level below 60 ng/mL is suboptimal. If your levels are below 60 ng/mL, you may want to consider supplementation to increase your vitamin D stores and prevent illness.

If you suffer from depression or another chronic illness and you have low or suboptimal vitamin D levels, you may benefit from supplementation as a part of your homeopathic or conventional treatment regimen.

References:

“Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Depression:” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 20595420

“Low Vitamin D Increases Risk of Depression and Cardiovascular Disease:” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20569717

“Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Chronic Pain:” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 20498201

 

Tara Peyman is a licensed naturopathic doctor with an expertise in the homeopathic and integrative treatment of bipolar disorder and mental illness, weight loss, diabetes and smoking cessation. She practices at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors in Mesa (480-985-0000) and in Tempe, Ariz. (480-456-0402). www.drtarapeyman.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 4, Aug/Sept 2010.

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