Recent epidemiological research has focused on Vitamin D—particularly on a possible link between Vitamin D and depression. Tests have shown vitamin D deficiency in depressed subjects, and that therapy with vitamin D sometimes helps people with depression to feel better.
But is Vitamin D really a “miracle drug?” Here are the ups and downs of Vitamin D therapy, so you can decide for yourself.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the health of human bone, and may have a biochemical relationship to the brain—that’s why medical scientists think D therapy may improve the symptoms of depression. The vitamin also helps with the uptake of calcium and phosphorus in the human system. Since there’s more calcium and phosphorus needed in the body than any other mineral, adequate Vitamin D is vital to human health.
Vitamin D can be obtained by the body in two ways: synthesized naturally in the skin through exposure to sunlight, or administered as a dietary supplement via pills or shots.
In cases of medically diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, dietary supplements are usually used to increase the amount of vitamin D in a patient’s body, and it may be this increased dosage that helps those with depression feel relief from the sadness of depression. It’s certainly the high amount of D that helps to correct even severe D deficiency—but it must be done with care to avoid the dangers of too much D.
What Can Vitamin D Do for You
Vitamin D has long been known to help build healthy bones, supposedly through the ability to increase calcium absorption. Vitamin D research reported by Science Daily in June 2012 claims that vitamin D therapy to mitigate D deficiency may actually help treat even serious cases of clinical depression.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been implicated in increased risk for type 2 diabetes among adults, and extreme obesity in teens, so making sure you get adequate doses of D has the potential to greatly improve your overall mental and physical well-being. Since those suffering from obesity and medical illness are at a higher risk for depression, a vitamin that helps you to stay at a healthy weight and diabetes-free has already improved your chances for avoiding or overcoming depression.
What are the Dangers of D?
Too much vitamin D can result in vitamin D toxicity, a potentially serious medical condition in which calcium builds up in the bloodstream (hypercalcemia), causing nausea, vomiting, weakness, and kidney problems.
Vitamin D also aids in calcium uptake. That’s a good thing, to a point. Studies reported in i09 show an increased danger of complication-causing calcium in the blood and urine for subjects taking the D/Calcium combo. That’s why we recommend taking a pure Vitamin D supplement – NOT a calcium supplement .
It’s important to increase doses of D only under a doctor’s supervision, to ensure that you are helping yourself instead of risking complications that could endanger your body as well as your mental health. Vitamin D therapy has the potential to solve (or at least help) a multitude of physical and emotional ailments, but it’s also a potentially complicated treatment option that should be undertaken with caution and medical care.
In general, researchers agree that 4,000 to 6,000 IU a day is a safe range for supplementing with pure Vitamin D3.
Deciding on D
If you are deeply depressed, it can be hard to keep a clear head when discovering vitamin D therapy—your emotions may be high with hope one minute, down in the dumps when D doesn’t seem to be an immediate cure-all. Keep in mind that peer-reviewed research has found difficulties with the “D for depression” hypothesis, but pilot studies are hopeful that D can make a significant impact with proper treatment. If your depression has been difficult to treat, D may be a good vitamin to add to your daily regimen.
Every case of depression is different, so no one treatment will “fix” depression in every person. But if you are diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, medical treatment with D supplements—or just a little more time in the sun to let your body synthesize more D— could have a noticeable effect on your health and mood. Talk to your doctor today to find out if D is right for you.
About The Author:Amber Merton is a health and fitness enthusiast and writes about better health and sleep for the latex mattress manufacturer Plushbeds.com .