Can Vitamin D Boost My Moods?
The link between vitamin D and moods is strong. While depression has been around as long as the human race, studies are showing that depression rates have been increasing over the few decades. One of the main reasons, it seems, is our lack of exposure to sunlight, which allows our body to produce essential vitamin D.
Vitamin D has been shown to help us regulate our moods and when we don't get enough of it, we are prone to more depression and anxiety.
What's more, sunlight is believed to increase your body's production of serotonin, a hormone that boosts not only mood, but feelings of calm and focus.
But how is this for interesting...
It has been discovered (through research) that vitamin D helps to regulate adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine production in the brain; as well as helping to protect from serotonin-depletion. Because of this fact, when vitamin D levels are low, this naturally increases an individuals risk of depression. 😲
Vitamin D, Mood and Our Digital Teether
In this digital age, more and more of us are working inside for long hours in front of a screen. What's more, increasing numbers of us are remaining tethered to our digital devices even when work is done, and as a result, we're not getting that crucial sunshine vitamin.
In reality, there is no excuse not to get your daily hit of sunshine, since as little as 15 minutes of sun exposure can give you the vitamin D you need for that 24 hour period. However, sunscreens, which are also necessary to prevent skin damage, block the sun's rays and limit our uptake of vitamin D.
So what to do?
Get outside, safely.
First off, spend time outside without sunscreen when the sun is not at its peak. When this will be depends on where you live, but around 10 am and after 3 pm is a good guideline.
When you’re out, go for a gentle walk. Walking is one of the best ways to improve your mood! You could also just sit outside and meditate, which will also clear your mind and help lift your spirits.
Eat vitamin D rich foods.
Some foods do naturally contain some vitamin D, like oily fish, red meat, egg yolks, liver and mushrooms that have recently been exposed to sunlight. You may have noticed I said some foods "naturally" contain vitamin D. This is because there are vitamin D fortified foods like milks and cereals, but these consumables do not naturally contain this important micronutrient. What's more, some of these foods may be fortified with vitamin D2, which is not as bioavailable as vitamin D3.
Supplementation can be a good idea...
While it's no substitute for going outside and you should aim to get your sun therapy everyday, if you have a vitamin D deficiency and are experiencing mood changes, it may be good to supplement.
Vitamin D3 is your best bet, which is what most vitamin D supplements are. Just check to make sure. Also, be sure to check with your doctor before supplementing with vitamin D to see if you need it.
The connection between vitamin D and mood is well-documented, so if you're feeling blue or anxious, get out in the gorgeous golden sunlight and soak in some heliotherapy. It won’t fix everything, but as part of a healthy lifestyle focused on self care and wellness, it will definitely help.
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Disclaimer: this article is for informational purposes only and not to be taken as advice. It is always recommended to seek professional medical advice from your trusted health practitioner.