- There are many, many things that can affect your mood.
- The foods that you eat and nutrients that you’re getting (or missing out on) can be one such thing.
- Knowing how vitamin D can affect your mood for better or worse can give you the information that you need to better understand your health.
- Getting too much vitamin D can be a problem, however, so working with your doctor to make sure that you’re getting the right amount for you is important.
Getting the right amounts of various nutrients is important because it affects your health in a number of ways. You likely know that nutrients like calcium are important for strong bones and teeth, that magnesium can help with sleep, and more, but you may not realise that there could also be some connection between the nutrients you eat and your mood.
Research is still somewhat preliminary, meaning it’s likely that more is needed to draw more definitive conclusions about vitamin D and mood. That being said, some studies have found some connections between vitamin D and things like depression, anxiety, and more
“We all know that vitamin D is essential to helping our bodies function properly,”Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian, told INSIDER. “One of the most important roles of vitamin D is to help regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which can help build a healthy immune system and fight diseases. Surprisingly, vitamin D can also help to regulate moods. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D were linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety.”
Some of the systematic reviews published in recent years examining the research concluded that randomised control trials are needed to further explore any potential link between vitamin D and depression.
“Studies have investigated the connection between vitamin D and mood including depression, seasonal affective disorder, and other psychological conditions,” Allison Knott, MS, RDN, CSSD, a registered dietitian nutritionist, told INSIDER. “However, many of the studies have had mixed results and are limited by study type, sample size, and study duration. Vitamin D status has been associated with risk for chronic disease, however, meaning that individuals with poor vitamin D status may be more likely to develop certain chronic diseases, making vitamin D an indicator of health status overall. But, more research is needed to further understand how vitamin D supplementation might impact someone’s mood.”
There aren’t a ton of natural food sources of vitamin D, that is, food sources that haven’t been fortified with vitamin D
But you can also get vitamin D from sunlight, so if you live somewhere that has lots of sunny days or you spend more time outside during the spring, summer, and fall months, you might notice differences when winter comes or when you spend a lot of time without sunlight.
Writing for Psychology Today,Dr. James M. Greenblatt, MD, noted that some studies have found that symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), in which people experience depression symptoms that correspond with the time of year, may be related to differing levels of vitamin D in the body.
Greenblatt added that it’s important to remember that even if boosting levels of vitamin D can help treat depression, it’s “only a small, but critical, part,” but that, in his experience, low levels of vitamin D “impair and prolongs recovery from depression.”
However, in terms of sunlight, SAD, and vitamin D, it’s difficult to know, without well-designed studies that take everything into account, if it’s just the vitamin D itself that’s made a difference or if there might be other factors at play as well.
“Those living in warmer climates and closer to the equator may have an improved vitamin D status due to the sunlight exposure,” Knott said. “This could also mean that people who are outdoors more regularly are also more active and physical activity alone is known to improve mood. Improved mood, as a result, may simply be because of the increased activity and not because of vitamin D status alone.”
If you’re not getting enough vitamin D and you’re worried about your health or overall wellness, a supplement might help
Working with your doctor and a dietitian could help you determine what sort of supplement you might need if any at all.
“Besides a balanced diet, and safe, moderate sun exposure, a great way to ensure that you are getting an adequate amount of vitamin D, is to consider taking a daily supplement,” Mathis said. “An easy way to supplement vitamin D can be through gummy form.”
Ensuring that you’re getting the right amount of various nutrients is important. Vitamin D is significant for so many things, whether researchers one day better understand how it might affect your mood or not.
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