Disorders and Treatment
- Mental Illness
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Borderline Personality
- Mental Health Diagnosis
- Mental Health Treatments
- Alternative Meds
- Case Studies
We all know vitamin D is necessary for good health and that a lack of it can contribute to numerous health problems. Is depression one of those problems?
Research on the role vitamin D plays in mental health is growing. So far, studies have yielded links and tendencies between mood and levels of vitamin D, but there have been no definitive answers.
Scientists cannot say whether low levels of this vitamin cause depression or if depression causes production of vitamin D to drop. One thing researchers know is that vitamin D acts upon areas of our brain that are associated with depression. This finding is important enough to warrant further study.
There are receptors for vitamin D in different parts of the brain. Receptors are docking stations on the surface of our cells. They chemically attract and connect with specific biochemical elements circulating in the body. Once a biochemical such as vitamin D docks at a receptor, it can do business with that cell.
So the areas of the brain with receptors for vitamin D “do business” with vitamin D. They must need what vitamin D has to offer. This suggests that a lack of vitamin D in mood-related gray matter, where there are receptors for it, may be linked to the experience of depression.
One theory is that vitamin D is involved in the making and effectiveness of brain chemicals called monoamines. Serotonin is a well-known example of a monoamine. Antidepressants work by increasing the brain’s supply of serotonin and other monoamines.
If the presence of vitamin D is necessary for the natural manufacture of monoamines, a lack of vitamin D would cause a decrease in brain chemicals such as serotonin, contributing to depression.
Despite the many questions remaining, vitamin D research is helping piece together the puzzle of depression:
Although there is no proof that using vitamin D supplements will alleviate depression, taking the supplement is unlikely to make things worse. You should not take more vitamin D than 10,000 IU/day and you may want to consult your physician first, especially if you use other medications.
Vitamin D supplements should not be considered a substitute for antidepressants or other depression treatments.
Source: Vitamin D Council
The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.