Vitamin D and Mood Disorders

Vitamin D is increasingly being shown to possess a wide range of cellular effects. These effects are known to include changes to brain chemistry, the implications of which are not fully understood. It is suspected that vitamin D plays a role in mood, and anecdotal evidence from this comes from the belief that sunny weather improves general mental health. A number of studies have investigated the association between vitamin D and mood, and these studies suggest that there is a possible association between low vitamin D status and low mood. For example, in one study, researchers analysed the mood of a number of sufferers of fibromyalgia, which is a condition characterised by muscle pain. The results of the study showed that subjects with vitamin D deficiency (<25 nmol/l 5-hydroxyvitamin D) had significantly lower mood, including levels of anxiety and depression, compared to subjects with insufficient  (25-50 nmol/l 5-hydroxyvitamin D) or normal  (50 nmol/l or greater 5-hydroxyvitamin D) levels of vitamin D.

vitamin D anxiety depression

The absence of adequate sun exposure is thought to lower mood because levels of vitamin D decline. This may explain the higher rates of anxiety and depression in the winter months, and may explain the higher prevalence of anxiety and depression in those with darker skin living at higher latitudes.

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Armstrong, D. J., Meenagh, G. K., Bickle, I., Lee, A. S. H., Curran, E. S. and Finch, M. B. 2007. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clinical Rheumatology. 26(4): 551-554

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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