Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Depression?
Scientists have discovered another function of vitamin "D": A new study links depression to low levels of vitamin D. The following is an explanation of the relationship between vitamin D and depression.
The Relationship Between Vitamin D and Depression
Scientists have known for a while that Calcitriol, the active vitamin D hormone, affects neurotransmitters linked to mental disorders. These are summarized in the largest study directly linking vitamin D and depression.
Researchers followed 12,600 participants for four years and found people with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to experience symptoms of depression.
The correlation is very strong, especially in people who have experienced depression before. Higher vitamin D levels are associated with a reduced risk of depression for people with a history of the disorder.
However, there are some oddities. Researchers aren't sure whether low vitamin D levels cause depressive symptoms, or whether depression lowers vitamin D levels.
The study also doesn't say whether increasing vitamin D levels can reduce symptoms of depression in people with the disorder.
Other studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can contribute to osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and heart disease—meaning it is necessary to increase the amount of D in the diet.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that we get between 200 and 800 IU of vitamin D daily (one can of tuna contains 200 IU).
So stock up on salmon, tuna, milk, and Swiss cheese—all super sources of vitamin D. Our bodies also produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
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