Does a low intake of vitamin D affect my mood?

During winter, when sunlight is less available, some people get the blues in a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. One possible explanation is that there may be a connection between mood and vitamin D, which is made in the body when sunlight hits the skin. A few studies have found that people who suffer from SAD feel better after they take vitamin D supplements. However, people in other research have felt no improvement, so the jury is still out.
Vitamin D is unique in that, although you can ingest it from food, it can also be synthesized in the body upon exposure of your skin to the sun. Thus, extreme northern or southern latitudes, prolonged winter months, smog and dark skin can inhibit vitamin D production.

A newly discovered link between low levels of vitamin D and depression may shed light on why winter’s wan sun leaves some feeling glum. A Dutch study of more than 1,200 seniors found 14 percent lower levels of vitamin D among those reporting more feelings of loneliness and listlessness. Other research has found that chronic pain problems are more prevalent among those lacking vitamin D. For instance, in a University of Delaware study, vitamin D deficiency doubled women’s risk of serious lower back pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.