WINTER BLUES: HOW VITAMIN D CAN AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH

Autumn has well and truly arrived in the UK, and with the changing of the seasons, it means that we’re going to be seeing less sunlight than the spring and summer months. A main source of Vitamin D comes from the sun, and those who live in countries far away from the equator, like the UK, can experience a lack of it in Autumn and Winter. The government actually recommends everyone to take Vitamin D supplements – so why is it so important?

Many studies have found evidence of a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and depression. In 2013, a study found that participants with depression also had low levels of the vitamin. It also found that statistically, those with low Vitamin D levels have a much greater risk of depression. It’s thought that because it is so vital to healthy brain function, a lack of it may play an intrinsic factor in depression and other mental illnesses. Many people in the UK are diagnosed with ‘SAD’ (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in September to March, when it’s more difficult to hit your quota of Vitamin D.

Those with a Vitamin D deficiency may experience:

  • feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • insomnia or hypersomnia
  • fatigue
  • change in weight
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of libido
  • loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • difficulty concentrating
  • forgetfulness
  • anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts
  • headaches
  • back pain
  • muscle or joint aches

How do we make sure we get enough?

Sunlight is the primary source, so you should try and get at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day. In the winter months, it can be a lot harder to get the amount that you need, which is why it’s important to take supplements. You can also eat foods that are rich in the vitamin, such as salmon, mackerel, fatty fish, fish liver oils, animals fats and Vitamin D fortified products like orange juice and cereal.

Are you experiencing ‘SAD’ or other mental health issues? Get in touch with Dalton Wise today.

How can life transitions impact your mental health? Find out HERE

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