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Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Mood Problems?

Scenic view of colorful forest in the fall and country road

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Mood Problems?

Vitamin D Deficiency and Moods

Having low vitamin D levels or Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to four mood disorders. Premenstrual syndrome, seasonal affective disorder (also known as winter blues), non-specified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder are all related to low vitamin D. Symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency are muscle pain, weak bones, low energy, fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression, moods swings, and sleep irregularities.

Vitamin D can increase the levels of serotonin, which controls your moods in your brain. Your vitamin D receptors are located in bone, skeletal, muscle, and immune cells, and several body tissues like the brain, prostate, breast, and colon.

Premenstrual syndrome is when emotional and physical disturbances occur after a woman ovulates and usually ends with menstruation. The most common symptoms are irritability, crying, depression, over-sensitivity, and mood swings.

Seasonal affective disorder, or winter blues, is a mood disorder that affects people in the winter months. They have normal mental health throughout most of the year but experience depressive symptoms in the winter. This usually happens year after year. A person with seasonal affective disorder may sleep too much, have no energy, and crave starchy foods and sweets.

Major depressive disorder is when you have low self-esteem, and loss of interest in things that once pleased you.

How to Get More Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be found in food, but only a few foods are a good source of it. Because only a few foods have a good amount, some people should take vitamin D supplements if they are not exposed to sunlight on their skin on a regular basis. You can find vitamin D in the following foods: pure cod oil (check the label because some companies remove the vitamin), salmon, mackerel, canned tuna fish in oil, canned sardines in oil, milk (non fat, reduced fat, whole and vitamin D fortified), margarine, pudding (if it is prepared from mix using vitamin D fortified milk), some ready to eat cereals, eggs (vitamin D is found in the yolk), beef liver, and Swiss cheese.

Another source of vitamin D is sunlight. Sunlight is far more likely to provide you with your daily vitamin D requirement than your food intake will. It only takes about ten to fifteen minutes of sunlight for your body to take in the vitamin. After this time you should apply a sunscreen of at least an SPF of 15 to protect your skin. You want to expose your face, hands, arms, or back at least two times a week to the sunlight without sunscreen to get the adequate amount of vitamin D.

To make sure you do not get a vitamin D deficiency: allow yourself limited, unprotected exposure to the sun, eat a diet that’s rich in whole foods, and talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. You can also see your health care provider to get tested to see if you are vitamin D deprived and come up with a plan to get you on the right track.

As new research emerges, it is important to remain aware of the most recent developments that are relevant to your health. News stories often cover new diseases and treatments for existing ailments, but they don't often cover smaller stories like changes to vitamin requirements. That's why it's important to always do your own research and remain informed.

Here is a source you can reference for up-to-date information on vitamin D requirements. Generally, any fact sheet released by a government health agency or science publication will be up-to-date and backed by reliable research. Always turn to the right sources for information about health matters; don't rely on that Facebook post Aunt Mary shared!

Of course, talking to your doctor for the most up-to-date information is also always a good idea. Your doctor is an expert on your specific health needs, and can provide you with information that is tailored to you. They can also test you to see if you are currently vitamin D deficient. Don't assume that you're vitamin D deficient before talking to a medical professional.

By paying attention to the vitamins you're getting each and every day, you can stay healthy and ward off unwanted ailments. You can also help your family understand what they need to be healthy, each and every day. The key to a healthy, happy family is always knowledge!

The content of this article should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed medical professional before making decisions pertaining to your or your family's health.

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