As our summer season comes to a close, our days are continuing to get shorter and shorter, which means less sunshine. One of the best things about the summer months is the endless outdoor activities and the longer days that have us absorbing more vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, than usual. However, as the summer begins to wind down, it’s important to realize the effects that vitamin D has on your mood and how you can adjust both your diet and your lifestyle to get more vitamin D in your life.
Why Vitamin D Impacts Your Mood
Studies have shown that there is a link between low vitamin D levels and depression. Your body receives vitamin D through sun exposure. Since vitamin D is believed to impact healthy brain function, when one is vitamin D deficient, it can severely affect their mood, sometimes even to the point of becoming depressed.
When the body is vitamin D deficient due to the lack of sun exposure or diet, it causes dysfunctional regulation of glucocorticoid signaling. This is known to be implicated in major depressive disorders and various other mood disorders, together with other body functioning disorders, therefore impacting mood.
How to Adjust Your Lifestyle
There are several actions you can take to increase your vitamin D levels.
Diet: Foods like oily fish (such as salmon), red meat, fortified foods, and milk products are high in vitamin D. Adding these foods to your diet can help increase your vitamin D levels.
Supplements: Taking an adequate amount of vitamin D supplements can increase vitamin D levels. Before starting any supplement regimen, it’s important to talk to your doctor, especially if you are on prescription medications to ensure all medications work together.
Sun Lamp: A sun lamp is a special type of lamp that emits UVB light, the same type of light that helps your body produce vitamin D. These types of lamps are marketed as “vitamin D lamps” or “happy lamps.” There have been claims that these types of lamps can even help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Get Outside: Luckily, San Diego Fall and Winter is pretty mild compared to other parts of the country. Even when the sun is setting earlier, there is still plenty of sunshine during the daytime. Something as simple as a short walk or enjoying coffee on your porch in the mornings can help increase your vitamin D levels.
If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, please reach out to Alleviant Health Centers for a free consultation.
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