Vitamin D & Depression. Myth Or Reality?Arfaq Hussain
Winter in Britain means short days, little sunlight, and (let’s face it) really bad weather! One of the things we have an increased consciousness of these days is that lack of sunlight in the winter months can directly affect our mental health and wellbeing.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a well documented medical phenomenon unique to the winter months due to our climate and short days.
Symptoms of SAD can include these effects:
- Persistent low mood
- Loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- Feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
Sleeping for longer than normal, and finding it hard to get up in the morning whilst craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.
Those above symptoms look surprisingly familiar, don’t they? They’re almost exactly the same as the symptoms for depression – and it’s no coincidence. One of the major side effects of Vitamin D deficiency (Vitamin D is the ‘sunshine’ vitamin and during the winter months we quite simply don’t get enough sunshine for our bodies to produce enough Vitamin D) is depression.
So not enough Vitamin D is definitely exacerbating your depression symptoms – but will Vitamin D supplements alone cure it?
The answer is simple – if you’re suffering from depression, Vitamin D supplements won’t provide a cure but they should form part of your daily regime to help you find the right balance. If you’re actually suffering from SAD and not full-blown depression then Vitamin D supplements alone, along with simple lifestyle changes, will actually cure your problem.
So either way, Vitamin D supplements are going to be hugely helpful – and potentially could even be the biggest step towards a cure you’ll take!
There’s one important and sensible step for you to take first – head to your GP’s office, and get an appointment with your Nurse Practitioner. Ask your Nurse to refer you for a blood panel to check all your vitamin and mineral levels – that way, if you do have a major deficiency, your Nurse will advise you of the right dose of the vitamins or minerals you require.
So don’t despair, the winter months will soon be behind us and during the meantime, some assistance with those winter blues is only a Nurse’s appointment away!