The sunshine vitamin – Vitamin D, is only produced in the body when exposed to the sun. Most of you probably know that Vitamin D is essential for developing healthy bones and teeth. In addition, this fat-soluble vitamin also improves your resistance to certain diseases.
But do you know Vitamin D also impacts your mental health?
Read on to find out!
Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D receptors are found in your muscles, heart, brain, and immune system. This vitamin is transported to the liver and kidneys, where it is transformed into an active hormone. It helps the body absorb calcium.
Sunlight exposure provides Vitamin D for your body. Vitamin D may also be obtained through a variety of foods and supplements. However, since melanin levels are higher in people with dark skin, this pigmentation makes it difficult for the skin to absorb Vitamin D properly.
There are several essential functions of Vitamin D. It encourages cell development, strengthens the immune system, and keeps bones healthy and robust. Most importantly, it controls calcium and phosphorus intake and promotes healthy immune system function.
Symptoms that Indicate Vitamin D Deficiency
When you have a deficiency of Vitamin D in your body, you’ll experience the following:
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Aching bones
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in activities that you found exciting in the past
- Changes in mood and overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Vitamin D and Mental Health
As mentioned earlier, there are Vitamin D receptors in the brain. The symptoms of mental illness are often associated with Vitamin D deficiency, and a low level of Vitamin D has various effects on mental health. Research indicates that Vitamin D deficiency may make psychological symptoms worse.
Vitamin D can affect mood and mental illnesses. Vitamin D has also been found to increase focus. According to research, people with Vitamin D deficiency may experience mental fog. Low Vitamin D levels are also linked to mental confusion.
Correlational scientific data repeatedly shows a negative relationship between Vitamin D levels and mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. According to research, Vitamin D may affect mental health problems. Several studies show that people with depression and bipolar disorder may experience worsening psychiatric symptoms if they have Vitamin D deficiency.
Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression?
Research also indicates that there is also a connection between depression and vitamin D supplementation. However, the one flaw in these studies is that they don’t provide conclusive evidence that depression is caused by vitamin D deficiency. Yet, individuals who suffer from depression may have reduced vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D supplementation will help reduce the symptoms of depression if a deficiency of Vitamin D causes depression. But this is not the case.
Withdrawal and social isolation are also among the symptoms of clinical depression. People with depression tend to spend less time outside. So, they don’t get the necessary exposure to the sun to produce vitamin D. They find it challenging to get out of bed or engage in outside activities when suffering from severe depression.
That is why people with depression have been found to contain a low vitamin D level in their bodies. Moreover, healthcare providers always encourage people with depression to spend more time outside.
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