The vitamin D/depression connection: deficiency of vitamin D, depression, and other mood disorders have been linked by new studies that suggest increasing blood levels of the sunshine vitamin has potential as an effective. Positive Health Wellness Affordable depression treatment.
Long recognized as crucial to the development and maintenance of strong bones, vitamin D has recently been discovered to be of prime importance to many aspects of health and wellness. Deficiency has been associated with a host of age-related disorders ranging from osteoporosis, hypertension, and heart disease to periodontal disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease and most recently, low levels of the vitamin have been associated with a wide range of mood and cognitive disorders.
D vitamin is one of the few vitamins the body can actually manufacture, and is known as the sunshine vitamin because exposure to the sun’s rays triggers its production. There are relatively few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, though vitamin fortified dairy products play an important role in preventing deficiency.
Low Levels of Vitamin D, Depression, and Mood Disorders Linked In Studies On The Elderly
Depression is a common and pervasive problem for older people. Research estimates that as many as 20 percent of people over 65 experience depression symptoms, both in association other diseases and as a chronic, recurring condition. Studies that monitored large groups of people over 65 for an extended period of time indicate there is a powerful correlation between low blood levels of vitamin D and depression, and in fact mood swings and feelings of depression are among the primary symptoms of D vitamin deficiency.
A landmark 2008 study by researchers from the UV University in Amsterdam, which tracked more than 1200 men and women 65 and older, showed an unmistakable correlation between deficiency of vitamin D, depression, mood swings, and other cognitive function problems. Blood levels of the vitamin were shown to be 14% lower on average among the subjects who were suffering from mild depression than among the non-depressed subjects, and those with major depressive conditions had Vitamin D levels that were even further below normal.
The study also measured blood levels of other substances that have been associated with D vitamin deficiency. It was found that blood levels of parathyroid hormone, which are known to increase when blood levels of vitamin D
are too low, are significantly higher in patients who exhibit symptoms of depression and cognitive disorders. Patients who experience major depression had parathyroid levels a full third higher than those of non-depressed patients.
Vitamin D, Depression Link Importamt for Midlife Women
It not just the elderly who are put at risk of depression by D vitamin deficiency. The discovery of the vitamin D-depression link could be particularly important to women at midlife, who are particularly at risk for depression and other D vitamin deficiency disorders. The body’s ability to produce vitamin D declines as we age, and deficiency can lead to a decrease in calcium absorption. It has long been understood that low calcium absorption heightens the risk of bone-weakening diseases like osteoporosis, but it has recently been found that low calcium can increase the risk of depression as well.
For older women, this is of special importance because estrogen levels also decrease with age and reduced estrogen levels also appear to effect calcium absorption, compounding the problems created by D vitamin deficiency.
Ongoing research confirms the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mood disorders in post-menopausal women, but it is also believed to be of importance to younger women as well. A recent University of Massachusetts study showed that supplemental calcium and vitamin D helped control the mood-related symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome in younger women, significantly reducing symptoms such as tearfulness, anxiety and irritability.