D for Depression!

December 2010, Warren Matthews


I am sure that most readers are very much aware of the increasing levels of depression being experienced by many people in the western world.

I am sure that most readers are very much aware of the increasing levels of depression being experienced by many people in the western world.

There is a growing amount of research that suggests a deficiency of Vitamin D is a factor in this problem. That is not surprising. There are very few people who have not experienced the 'feel good' factor after a day of sunshine exposure at the beach or some other outing. This is primarily due to the boost of Vitamin D production triggered off by the sun exposure.

You can’t get that 'kick' from a bottle of high dose Vitamin D. It needs to come from the sun.
I personally believe that the ‘authorities’ who have helped instil a general paranoia in the populace about exposure to sunshine have a lot to answer for in contributing not only to depression but a general decline in health levels across all sectors.

If you have been following my articles and newsletters for the last nine years you will know that this is a pet subject of mine. Exposure to natural sunshine is crucial. It will not age you if done sensibly…in fact, it will help slow down the aging process. Don’t be ‘conned’ by the adverts for sunscreens etc blaming skin aging primarily on sun exposure.

And ladies…don’t use make up or skin care products with and SPF factor built in. It is not needed for normal day to day use. Only use sunscreen when you have serious prolonged exposure to the sun and then use a sunscreen which uses a blocker such as zinc or titanium.
Below we have pasted an article from Stephen Daniels re the studies that I mentioned earlier.


Low vitamin D levels linked to increased depression risk.
By Stephen Daniells, 26-Nov-2010

The likelihood of having depression is significantly increased in people with deficient level of vitamin D, compared with people with adequate levels of the sunshine vitamin, says a new study.
Data from the third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that people with vitamin D deficiency were at a 85 percent increased risk of having current depressive episodes, compared with people with sufficient levels, according to findings published in the International Archives of Medicine .

"It is not known, whether vitamin D deficiency leads to the depression or depression leads to the vitamin D deficiency," write the researchers from Georgia State University. "Further studies are needed in deciphering the precise role of vitamin D in psychosomatic disorders."

"Although the direction of the cause and effect relation between depression and vitamin D deficiency is not known clearly at this time, in public health perspective, the coexistence of vitamin D and depression in the US population at large is a concern," they add.
"It is important to identify persons who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency and/or for depression and to intervene early because these two conditions have enormous negative consequences on long term health."

D and depression

And the World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that within 20 years more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem; it ranks depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide, with around 120 million people affected.

This is not the first time that vitamin D has been linked to symptoms of depression. Dutch scientists reported in 2008 in the Archives of General Psychiatry that low levels of the vitamin and higher blood levels of the parathyroid hormone (PTH) were associated with higher rates of depression among 1,282 community residents aged between 65 and 95.

Furthermore, a review by Bruce Ames and Joyce McCann from the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland highlighted the role of the vitamin in maintaining brain health, noting the wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain.

According to the review (FASEB Journal, Vol.22, pp. 982-1001), the vitamin has been reported to affect proteins in the brain known to be directly involved in learning and memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behaviour. Depression in the elderly is highly prevalent and can increase the risk of medical illnesses, worsen the outcome of other medical illnesses, and may increase mortality.

New data

Vijay Ganji Ph.D., R.D and his Georgia State co-workers analysed data from 7,970 US residents aged between 15and 39. Assessments of depression were performed using the National Institute of Mental Health’s Diagnostic Interview Schedule.

Results showed that people with blood levels of vitamin D of 50 nanomoles per liter or less were at an 85 percent increased risk of having current depressive episodes in persons, compared with people blood levels of at least 75 nanomoles per liter.

"The mechanism through which vitamin D plays a role in metal health is not clearly understood," said the researchers. "Active vitamin D enhances glutathione metabolism in neurons, therefore, promotes antioxidant activities that protect them from oxidative degenerative processes."

The researchers also not that vitamin D is involved in gene expressions for the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine.

The researchers stress however that their results do not prove that vitamin D deficiency causes depression, and called for additional studies to decipher the association between vitamin D and depression.

Source: International Archives of Medicine
2010, 3:29 doi:10.1186/1755-7682-3-29
"Serum vitamin D concentrations are related to depression in young adult US population: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey"
Authors: V. Ganji, C. Milone, M.M. Cody, F. McCarthy, Y.T. Wang


  • “Thank you Joanna, really appreciate the help :)”

    Ahmed - December 16 2010

  • “I’m Actually not surprised by the research, i remember i suffered a few years ago from panic attacks linked to anxiety which gave me some depression, then i left the UK and hit the sun for a few months and my panic attacks and depression has gone, right now i get once a week or so mild depression lasting some hours as its winter, so i plan to hit the sun again for a month or so and know after that i will be free from the depression episodes until the next winter. Dr Mercola recommends sun beds for those who cant get much sun, not sure about it though. In my opinion the best way to fight depression and anxiety is a healthy diet and exercise and get lots of sun exposure, but with care if your a light skin person of course and take a product like Total Balance and Fish oil, and if moderate to sever add Neuro Natural Serenity and try to get some counseling. Cant think of a more natural simple strategy than that, but anti depressants cannot do what the above cant do in treating depression, plus they have side effects and stopping is not hard and the withdrawal side effects are not nice. But consult first your doctor if you feel you have depression and let them diagnose and if they decide to give anti depressants then you might wanna decide to go natural first as a alternative with your doctors awareness of what your taking as he or she knows best what other ailments you may have that could conflict with any supplement you take”

    Mohamed - December 06 2010

  • “Few months ago, I found out I had a very severe vitamin D deficiency, and I was prescribed 10,0000 IU D caps, I stuck to using them for just few weeks, and my vitamin D level went from 4 to about 24 in just 3 weeks, I guess 24 isn’t much since the article point out that you should be at least more than 50, I would want to increase more of my vitamin D levels naturally, although,it’s winter now, and I have no choice but to take those caps again to increase the vitamin D levels more. However, I have to mention that I experienced mild depressive episode after taking those caps, is it normal? do you advice me to start taking them again?”

    Ahmed - December 03 2010

  • “Hi Ahmed, One of the reasons, in situations such as yours, that people may find a mild depression is because by taking continuous higher dose vitamin D your body becomes lazy in trying to produce its own. When it does this, it is a similar internal chemical effect as if you are not making it at all, and as the article points out, deficiency (even if not direct deficiency) can cause depression symptoms. In this case it is a bit of a pseudo-effect, where the body is ‘fooled’ into thinking it isn’t producing or getting vitamin D, and hence feelings of depression can occur. The key to avoid this is to try to lessen the extreme amounts of vitamin D taken. You can take the supplements if your doctor feels you really need to, but take them at a lowest dose and concentrate on other ways of increasing your vitamin D. You don’t need absolute direct sun rays, plenty of daylight is helpful, so make sure you get plenty of natural light, and plenty of time outdoors; also concentrate on your diet, as the proper nutrients will encourage the body to react as optimally as possible, so concentrate on plenty of natural vegetables and natural foods. Taking Total Balance and Bone-Protec can also be helpful for their additional amounts for general daily health and help with your other nutrient levels to encourage this and encourage normal function, so this is another option for you. Some people also find that sunlight lamps can also help, but this is anecdotal and not scientifically studied. Along with the other info that we suggest on our site as to intake levels if you do take an additional supplement, this may help. Take a look here http://www.xtend-life.com/SearchResults.aspx?cx=005442268687610389394%3A4wscy8mawc0&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=UTF-8&q=vitamin+D#922 Monitor how you get on, and once your levels are stable you can stop the separate vitamin D intake. Joanna”

    Xtend-Life Expert - December 07 2010

  • “Hi Jennifer, It seems like you have had some good life experience there.  Pleased that we may have been helpful in some small way. ”

    Warren Matthews - January 06 2011

  • “I love the sun! Now I know why. I have often dealt with depression (both mild & major) mostly associated with my hormonal cycle and pms. I’ve been taking Xtend-life multivitamins and supplements since August of 2009 and I have vastly improved my control of my body! I have a regular hormonal cycle for the first time since my youngest child was born in 2004. When I do have more stress and issues in my life that can cause my moods to tank and depression sets in, it’s way more mild and I have much more control of getting rid of the bad feelings very quickly with supplements like Neuro Natural Serenity and Natural Energy w/Bee Pollen rather than tons of coffee which only worsened my moods. I can honestly say that Xtend-life’s products have literally been one of the BIGGEST factors in saving my marriage My husband’s anger, anxieties, and depression along with my own ailments caused a lot of hurt and unhappiness in our marriage. My hubby & I are soooo much happier and deal with stress so much less painfully :) Sunlight helps alot and in sunny Southern California, it’s easy to get a healthy dose of vitamin D. But I agree with the other poster who stated that the mulitivitamins and a healthy diet and lifestyle are the BEST ways to control depression, anxieties and a whole lot of other ailments. Thanks for all the great articles and blog posts. Xtend-life has really changed my life entirely!”

    Jennifer - January 04 2011

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