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Vitamin D May Be Your Ticket to Better Mental Health

Researchers in the Netherlands found that lower levels of vitamin D were strongly associated with depression among older people. This connection was strong even when corrected for age, gender, smoking, general health, physical activity, and geographic location. Those seniors in the study who reported either minor depression or major depressive disorder had blood levels of vitamin D that were 14 percent lower than those in the study who were not depressed. 

Low levels of vitamin D are common, especially among the elderly. A majority of women (57%) and many men (39%) have low levels of this vitamin. Researchers suspect that vitamin D helps transmit nerve messages in the brain. A low level of vitamin D could lead to a negative change in the way the brain processes these messages, which could lead to depression. There is strong evidence that extra exposure to sunlight, which increases levels of vitamin D, helps treat some types of depression. Supplements may also help.

If you think you might have a low level of vitamin D, talk to your doctor. You can have your blood level checked. If it is low, your doctor can suggest the best way to increase your intake of this vitamin.

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