The only vitamin that we can manufacture for ourselves, Vitamin D, plays a critical role in a number of different functions in our life. It has been strongly correlated with the fight against cancer and autoimmune conditions, and as more research is being done about this miraculous vitamin, the connection to levels of vitamin D and mood has been made as well. Here is a look at vitamin D and how it connects to depression and fatigue.
What is Vitamin D and how do I get it?
Vitamin D is created in the body by the absorption of sun rays in the ultraviolet spectrum. In many parts of the US, the sun is not high enough in the sky to give full access to these vitamin-building rays during the winter months, though in the southern climates, they do have access. People who spend a lot of time outside also have much more access to these sun rays. Vitamin D is a hormone that helps the body to communicate with itself more effectively, and that manages the calcium distribution to the body's cells. Though the reason why is not well known, people with high vitamin D levels in their blood have a lower rate of depression, autoimmune disease, and hormonal cancers like prostrate and breast cancers.
Getting More Vitamin D
During the summer months, vitamin D is easily found by spending a lot of time outside in the sun, and limiting sunscreen use. This is, of course, something that dermatologists question, as sunscreen protects from other kinds of cancer. However, if done in limited ways, sunscreen-free sun exposure can do a lot to increase your natural vitamin D levels. Natural supplements of Vitamin D3, though not as effective, are another way to get the levels of vitamin D you need. The recommended daily amount you should be taking changes based on different countries. Canada and Europe lean toward 10,000iu, while the US is more cautious, recommending around 2000iu.
Vitamin D, Mood, and Energy
The link between dark days and depression has long been understood. There is even a name for the condition, SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. As more studies come to light about the mechanism of vitamin D on brain function, SAD is believed to have much to do with vitamin D levels. Young women of menstrual age seem to be most affected by this, based on the role that estrogen and vitamin D play together in brain health. Energy is also increased with higher vitamin D levels, though it is unclear whether the fatigue is linked with clinical depression or if it is an actual physical side effect of low vitamin D levels. Whatever the case, regular supplements have been shown to have a very positive effect on both.