Mood Disorders

Vitamin D and Depression

By September 29, 2011 October 30th, 2014 No Comments

An area of intense vitamin D research is its relationship to depression. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a situational mood disorder brought on by decreasing daylight in the winter months. High doses of vitamin D during these months have proven to be a very effective natural remedy for SAD, leading most practitioners to believe that normal neurotransmitter function depends in part on adequate vitamin D synthesis.

Vitamin D levels are inversely related to those of melatonin, another mood-regulating hormone. Melatonin helps modulate your circadian rhythms, with darkness triggering melatonin secretion by the pineal gland within your brain, bringing you down gently at night for sleep. Insomnia, mood swings and food cravings are influenced by melatonin. Sunlight shuts melatonin production off, while triggering release of vitamin D — that’s why we recommend getting outdoors as a remedy for jet lag.

Most of us can sense the positive influence of sunlight in our own lives by the immediate lift we get from taking a walk outdoors on a beautiful sunny day. Now there may be many factors at work that brighten our mood in such cases, but sun exposure is almost certainly a critical piece. Soaking in the warmth of the sun is one of the most relaxing activities we share with all living creatures.

I have found optimizing Vitmain D levels to be very effective for treatment of depression. In addition, Amino Acid Therapies to raise natural Serotonin and Dopamine levels have allowed many patients to reduce their requirement for anti-depressant medication and reducing side affects.