Vitamin D and brain health

Depression is a severe condition that affects millions of lives all over the world. Vitamin D has been related to depression over the years, and this connection keeps being researched.

Currently, the treatment for depression consists of antidepressants. Treatment with antidepressants seems to be only partially effective and come with side effects that challenge the patients.

Treatments are still being researched, but meanwhile, therapists look into alternative solutions for people with depression. Only recent findings concluded that nutrition has a significant role in our brain activity.

The intake of vitamins, minerals and other compounds from food can make a big difference in our overall health. The health of the brain is directly linked to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

woman making face while holding her brown hair
Photographer: Hean Prinsloo | Source: Unsplash

Vitamin D regulates mood

There is no clear evidence of how supplements can be used in depression. One of the vitamins that can make a difference is Vitamin D.

“If you take any group of patients with almost any disease, their vitamin D levels will be lower than in a healthy individual. This has led some to hypothesis it’s low vitamin D developing the disease, but there’s no evidence to prove it,” Ian Reid, professor in medicine at the University of Auckland says.

Either people with depression have low levels of this vitamin or not, supplementing can help in reducing the dreadful symptoms of this condition. It seems that D vitamin is directly related to serotonin blood levels, a hormone that regulates the mood and melatonin levels responsible for sleep regulation.

Researchers are not sure about the way this vitamin works, but they have a theory. Since vitamin D receptors are found in many parts of the brain, a concentrated level of these receptors in the hypothalamus (responsible for hormone balance in the body) help the area function better. (Study)

Evidence related to vitamin D and its role in treating depression

Vitamin D is part of brain function since birth and continues to be throughout our whole life. Many different studies all over the world revealed the link between this vitamin and depression:

1. In this study, patients with vit D deficiency showed improved symptoms of depression after 2 months of supplementing with 5,000 IU of vit D

2. Low levels of vitamin D were correlated with major and minor depression in a study conducted in the Netherlands involving 169 individuals

3. 2070 people ages 65 and older participated in an English study which concluded that depression is linked to vitamin D deficiency northern countries of Europe

Other vitamins and supplements for depression

In conclusion, vitamin D has a major role in regulating the mood and, a deficiency can lead to depression symptoms. It is important to know that this vitamin is a hormone and cannot be found in many foods. The body produces it while exposed to sunlight. To get enough of it, you must be exposed to the sun anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours.

You can take vitamin D from these foods: fatty fish like salmon, fish liver oils, animal fats, and vitamin d fortified foods. The list is short so, if you do not expose to sun enough, you might want to take vitamin D supplements.

Many studies came to the conclusion that vitamin D has a major role in treating depression; however, you should take into consideration other supplements too.

US National Library of Medicine made a selection of nutrients that can help in treating depression. These are a few of them:

  • Tryptophan for serotonin deficiency
  • Tyrosine for Dopamine/Noradrenaline deficiency
  • GABA for GABA deficiency
  • Omega 3-s for Omega 3 deficiency

Vitamin C was listed for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder as a remedy to Excess Vanadium, a mineral found in foods, water, soil, air and in the human body.

Depression and the treatment of depression are still being researched and there is no universal cure.

Each individual is different and treating your depression with supplements involves experimenting and finding what works best for you.

If you have any questions about vitamin d and other nutritional options that promote feelings of well being, please visit any of our 5 San Antonio vitamin and supplement stores. We're looking forward to seeing you!

-The Cost Plus Nutrition Team