Has low levels of Vitamin D been linked to depression? Find out how this important vitamin affects your mental health.
Ever noticed how much happier you feel when you’ve been outside in the sunshine? Vitamin D3 is produced by our bodies when we get enough of the sun’s UVB rays on our skin. But that isn’t the only link between sunlight, Vitamin D, and mood.
Research into Vitamin D and emotional health has shown that people with low levels of Vitamin D are up to 11 times more prone to depression than people with normal levels of the vitamin. Studies in this complex area are few and far between. But more work is being done and we can expect some interesting research to be published in future.
Why does Vitamin D affect the brain?
Experts still don’t understand exactly how Vitamin D works within the human brain. But we do know that our brains are full of Vitamin D receptors. These help carry out a number of functions including communicating actions with the rest of our body. It is thought that Vitamin D levels can affect parts of the brain that govern learning, memory, and mood. Some research suggests it could even play a role in social behaviour.
Some researchers think that Vitamin D could affect our levels of brain chemicals, including serotonin, which has a strong effect on mood.
More and more large-scale studies are being carried out in the areas of Vitamin D and mental health. For now, we can be sure of one thing: exposure to sunlight increases Vitamin D levels, and is a great mood booster. So get outside in the sunshine whenever you can. Even 10 minutes will help.