Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin naturally present in a variety of foods. In addition, it is also known as sunlight vitamin because exposure to sunlight increases the concentration of Vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is an essential requirement of your body to build and maintain healthy bones and mental health. Moreover, vitamin D regulates many other cellular functions in your body. But vitamin D deficiency leads to both medical and psychological problems. In this blog, you’ll get to know everything about vitamin D and mental health. Continue your reading:
How is vitamin D made in the body?
The production of vitamin D is a complex process. It starts in the body when your skin absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun. This light converts the molecule 7-dehydrocholesterol into pre-vitamin D2. Then in the liver, the vitamin D precursors change the pre-vitamin D2 into the circulating form of vitamin D. Finally, in the kidney, vitamin D is converted into calcitriol which your body uses for its functions.
How does Vitamin D work in the body?
Vitamin D receptors are found in the muscles, heart, brain and immune system. The body transports the vitamin D to the kidney and liver, converting it into an active hormone to absorb the calcium in the body.
How does Vitamin D deficiency leads to mental health problems?
Vitamin D deficiency leads to many mental health-related diseases such as depression and seasonal affective disorder. Other problems that can arise from the deficiency include:
- Low bone density
- Heart disease
- Bone softening
Who are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency?
The people who live far from the equator and those with conditions like liver disease, renal disease, and celiac are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. In addition, overweight people, the elderly, pregnant women, infants and dark-skinned people are also at high risk of vitamin D deficiency due to various reasons.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
There is a strong similarity between vitamin D deficiency symptoms and depression. The common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are:
- Mood changes
- Sadness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive weight loss or gain
- Trouble sleeping
What is the correlation between Vitamin D and Mental Health?
Vitamin D and mental health issues are interrelated. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety lead to social isolation and withdrawal from society. As a result, there is less sunlight exposure and vitamin D deficiency. In addition, people who suffer from depression don’t eat properly, so they can’t get the vitamin D from food. Or it is also possible that vitamin D deficiency causes hormonal changes and results in mental health problems such as depression etc.
How to treat vitamin D deficiency?
The best way to treat vitamin D deficiency is to:
- Increase your exposure to the sun
- Increase your intake of food enriched with vitamin D
- Take supplements
Your doctor may also give you antidepressants to treat depression and deal with vitamin D deficiency.
How to prevent vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D is an essential element for mental health as well physical health. Several types of research proved that the deficiency in vitamin D could lead to depression-like symptoms. You can prevent this deficiency by increasing your exposure to sunlight and having a diet that is enriched with vitamin D, such as:
- Tuna fish
- Orange juice
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
Vitamin D is the most basic need of your body to perform its functions well. Vitamin D deficiency can cause several mental health issues and physical health issues. Vitamin D is naturally produced in your body by sunlight exposure. But, you can fulfil vitamin D deficiency by eating vitamin D enriched food or taking supplements. The deficiency of vitamin D may cause depression, which can worsen deficiency symptoms. The people at high risk of vitamin D deficiency are the elderly, infants, dark-skinned people and those who live in cold areas. You can treat vitamin D deficiency by eating vitamin D fortified food and increasing your exposure to sunlight.