Depression has been linked to vitamin D deficiency. A daily dosage of 10,000 IU for a couple of months is enough to help you meet the recommended vitamin D3 concentrations of 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL.
Can vitamin D deficiency cause depression?
Vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of depression. According to a 2013 study, published on the British Journal of Psychiatry, low serum vitamin D levels have been linked to depression.
Scientists analyzed vitamin D levels from more than 31,000 participants. They found that people with low vitamin D levels had significantly higher risk for developing depression.
Most noteworthy, vitamin D is involved in various brain processes. Also, vitamin D is present on neurons and in the brain. Especially in areas which are involved in the pathophysiology of depression.
How common is vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is pretty common, actually. It’s estimated that vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the worldwide population. Moreover, about 1 billion people have vitamin D deficiency.
The main reason of vitamin D deficiency is the minimum exposure to sunlight. The human body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to UVB radiation.
Therefore, the first easy step for fighting depression is exercising outdoors! Even moderate exercise, such as walking 20 minutes outdoors can help. Furthermore, vitamin D can help you lose belly fat easily or even build muscle mass!
Vitamin D for depression
It’s estimated that about 6.7% of adults in the United States have depression. But, fewer than 25% of people with depression receive treatment.
Vitamin D supplementation may be a healthy and cheap way to deal with depression, though! Most noteworthy, vitamin D supplementation has no side effects. Even high daily dosages of 10,000 IU are pretty safe.
Moreover, even just one dose of 100,000 IU can decrease symptoms of depression.
Certainly, vitamin D is vital for the proper development of the brain. Hence, pregnant women should check their vitamin D levels!
For instance, there are vitamin D receptors in the hypothalamus, which may be important in neuroendocrine functioning. Also, vitamin D is important for cellular proliferation and nerve signaling.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin D
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is only 600 IU. Only elderly people need a higher daily dosage of 800 IU.
On the other hand, the Endocrinology Society estimated that this dosage may not be enough for people who don’t have adequate sun exposure. Hence, they recommend a daily vitamin D intake of 1,500–2,200 IU, in order, to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
In any case, a daily dosage up to 4,000 IU is considered pretty safe.
Above all, you should check your blood levels concentrations of vitamin D3 regularly. Ideally, you should have vitamin D3 concentrations of 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL. If you have less, you may benefit from taking vitamin D supplements.
What dosage of vitamin D is good for depression?
Do people with depression have higher vitamin D needs? Actually, no.
As a rule of thumb, people with depression should take vitamin D supplementation, up to 10,000 IU a day, until they have adequate vitamin D concentrations in their blood.
Low daily dosages may not be enough to help people with depression, though. For instance, a daily dose of 400 IU wasn’t beneficial for women with depression. It wasn’t enough for affecting mood.
Only a daily dosage higher than 600 IU seems to help people with depression, improving their mood. Furthermore, people with vitamin D deficiency can benefit the most.
Is vitamin D from the sun enough to fight depression?
Outdoor exercise is beneficial for decreasing depression symptoms. For instance, a 20-minute outdoor walk, 5 times a week helped women with mild depression symptoms.
Above all, outdoor moderate exercise is free and without any advert effects!
But, how much vitamin D can the body synthesize after sun exposure? There are many factors that affect the synthesis of vitamin D from sun exposure, such as latitude, season, and time of the day. For instance, sun exposure is greater in spring to early fall.
We can produce up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day from sun exposure during summer. On the contrary, the human body can synthesize only 220 IU in winter.
Additionally, sun exposure is good for the synthesis of serotonin, an important chemical for fighting depression.
Hence, most people need vitamin D supplementation during winter. People with depression could benefit, as well. Especially, if they’re deficient in vitamin D.
Certainly, you should consult your health care provider before taking any supplementation.
Can I take enough vitamin D from dietary sources?
Unfortunately, we can’t depend on food for taking adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Only a few foods contain vitamin D, actually. Cod liver oil, salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna are the only good sources of vitamin D. Vegans can take vitamin D from certain mushrooms and fortified foods. See the whole list here.
Certainly, sun exposure and vitamin D supplements are the best ways to boost vitamin D intake. Vitamin D supplements are cheap. Compare prices on Amazon.
Other nutritional deficiencies may cause depression
Besides vitamin D, it’s particularly important to receive adequate amounts of omega-3s, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B12, magnesium, selenium, iron, and zinc for the prevention or treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.