Vitamin D for Depression: How to Get More Vitamin D Daily
Depression during the cold winter months is common for northern countries, particularly in the northern United States and Canada. Clinically, low vitamin D levels have been linked to depression. Researchers have found that vitamin D supplementation may ameliorate the symptoms of depression, particularly in young adults. Since many people nowadays spend more time inside and not enough time outside, getting enough vitamin D is getting harder to do. Here are some ways to get more vitamin D daily to either help with your patient’s depression or your own seasonal blues.
1. Become a Breakfast Person
Breakfast is a great time to get key nutrients like vitamin D in your diet. Breakfast food items such as eggs, milk, and fortified orange juice can be enjoyed to start the day off with ample vitamin D. Like omelettes? Mushrooms are high in vitamin D and make a great addition to a morning omelette. Not an egg or mushroom person? Try adding some yogurt to your morning routine (without added flavors).
2. Get Some Sun
Sunlight exposure to bare skin allows for vitamin D synthesis within the body. 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin is all that is needed for the body to synthesize vitamin D. You can take walks, garden, play outside with a pet, or read on a patio outside to get some sun. Note: Your body can’t make vitamin D if you’re sitting indoors by a sunny window because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays (the ones your body needs to make vitamin D) can’t get through the glass. So during the winter seasons, light therapy may be a good solution to follow.
3. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Researchers have found that vitamin D supplementation may ameliorate the symptoms of depression, particularly in young adults. Many people supplement their diets with vitamin D. Vitamin D comes in easy to swallow capsules or as a chewy gummy. Other options include finding a liquid multivitamin with vitamin D. Please remember though, not all vitamins are alike. Some vitamin D’s may not be as potent as what your body needs. Talk with and consult your doctor about how much vitamin D you should be consuming each day.
4. Light Therapy
Light therapy is often used to treat major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns, sleep disorders, and other forms of depression. Light therapy works by using a specially designed light that emits ultraviolet radiation. This light is similar to the sun’s light and can help the body produce vitamin D in the skin. Typically, people get exposure for just a few minutes a day to get the vitamin D that they need.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is involved in supporting healthy bones, maintaining the immune system, and brain health. Many people living in colder climates live in “vitamin D” deficient areas where sunlight is scarce during the winter months. People can get vitamin D through eating foods such as eggs, going outside for sunlight exposure, and taking a vitamin D supplement. Research has shown promising effects of vitamin D supplementation on remediating depressive symptoms.