Did you know that some health professionals recommend Vitamin D supplements for their patients suffering from depression? It’s especially indicated in the winter, when sunlight exposure is limited or non-existent (your body manufactures Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight). It turns out that Vitamin D may play a significant role in regulating mood.
There have been reports of people experiencing much-needed mood boosts when they take Vitamin D supplements – so many reports that professionals are taking notice and, as noted above, recommending the vitamin to their patients and clients.
So what does Vitamin D do, and how can you get more of it in your diet? If you take supplements, how much should you take? What about foods that are high in Vitamin D? Let’s take a look at some of these questions.
How Does It Work?
Interestingly, Vitamin D is produced in the body first as a hormone. Then sunlight exposure causes the conversion of this “pre-Vitamin D” into usable Vitamin D. This conversion takes place in the kidneys, and is regulated so that you don’t get a Vitamin D overdose if you’re in the sun all day. When you eat Vitamin D supplements, they act like the pre-Vitamin D hormone your body produces.
Vitamin D works in the body with other nutrients and hormones to regulate hormone function. Hormones, of course, affect all sorts of things, including mood. Hormonal imbalances can cause mood slumps and odd “highs.”
How Much Do You Need?
Because deficiencies in Vitamin D are getting more common, the recommended daily allowance is being reconsidered. In other words, the previous recommendations of 200 IU may be far too low. Current recommendations say 2000 IU is probably more in line with what you need. Also, it’s been shown that the older you get, the less well you absorb Vitamin D. So adults may need more as they get older.
What’s the Best Source?
You can take supplements or eat foods high in Vitamin D. Remember it’s fat-soluble, so Vitamin D supplements and foods will be best absorbed if there is some fat ingested at the same time. Many foods with Vitamin D already have the necessary fat, such as salmon and eggs. Here are some other foods high in Vitamin D:
* Wild-caught salmon
* Soy milk
You can also drink fortified milk and eat fortified foods. Probably the best route is to get your Vitamin D from a variety of sources whenever you can. During the winter, any skin exposed to the sun may be helpful for boosting your Vitamin D and your mood.