I am definitely not going to try and get all scientific when it comes to depression and vitamin D but I do know that vitamin D is important and you can’t always get enough from just spending time out in the sun.
To summarize a bit of research:
- Low levels of vitamin D have been found in those with depression symptoms
- It hasn’t been proven if low levels of vitamin D actually cause depression
- Research suggests vitamin D supplements may help those with depression who already have low levels of vitamin D. On the flip side, if your levels of vitamin D are adequate, taking a D supplement likely won’t really help.
You can check out more research and related information in this Vitamin D Council article.
My Vitamin D Experience
I have seen a couple of different psychologists and a couple of psychiatrists since the age of 16 (in 1999). I was never told about the importance of vitamin D and how it may help boost your mood (if you have low levels) until I was at a gyno exam in October of 2015.
My gynecologist is the one who told me to try increasing my vitamin D levels for my depression. My gyno!
Somehow this slipped past two medical doctors, three psychologists and two psychiatrists. You would think in addition to wanting to prescribe any antidepressants that they’d suggest that as a possible solution or supplement to my solution.
Since that day in October I’ve been taking a vitamin D supplement whenever I remember – which is most days. Your own doctor’s suggested dosage may vary but my doctor suggested 2,000 IU’s during the summer and 3,000 IU’s during the winter.
I can’t say I noticed any obvious differences but I do think a higher dose during Minnesota winters seems to help. I typically do better mentally during the warmer months anyway. I think a lot of people get more depressed during winter.
*Note: I’ve never had the vitamin D levels in my blood checked but you can request this to be done.
Two Favorite Ways I Like to Get Vitamin D
I know there is some vitamin D in foods but not in much of what I typically eat so I prefer two other ways.
- A vitamin D3 supplement – be sure to speak with your doctor about how much you should take daily and also to see which specific kind they might recommend.
- Spending time in the sun. Minnesota can have pretty long winters so I do my best when it’s cold and get outside whenever I can when it’s nice out. I think just being outside, in general, seems to be a mood booster.
While the verdict is still out on whether low vitamin D levels cause depression, increasing your vitamin D intake does seem to help if your levels are already low.
Definitely speak with your doctor to see what’s best for you!
Q. Do you supplement with vitamin D? Does it seem to help? Do you take any other supplements that help with your depression and/or anxiety?