The Depressing Truth About Vitamin D Deficiency

Scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients, half of whom were stricken with a mild case of Alzheimer's disease and the rest of whom had no problems with dementia.

The patients were evaluated using a battery of standard tests. Those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses. Moreover, 58 percent of patients had abnormally lower vitamin D levels than the mean.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in older adults, and has previously been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.

If you remain skeptical at all about the beneficial effects vitamin D has on your body, here's a study that shows dramatically what happens to seniors when they avoid getting a healthy dose of sunshine every day.

Getting your vitamin D naturally from safe sunshine exposure is the best way to go, as it works just like a drug to treat all kinds of conditions apart from depression. The LA Times recently called it the ultimate "wonder drug."

Diseases that vitamin D positively influences include:

Vitamin D can also strengthen bones and the immune system, provide pain relief, and prevent schizophrenia. It's truly an amazing chemical; it's actually a hormone rather than, strictly speaking, a vitamin, and the most powerful hormone in your body at that, active in quantities as small as 1/1,000,000,000,000 of a gram.

If you choose to boost your intake of vitamin D in the winter with cod liver oil or any other supplement, however, please be sure to have your blood regularly monitored to ensure you don't overdose.

Vital Votes reader Tom from Grandview, Ohio shares the following story:

"Vitamin D is very important, and sun exposure is indeed the best source. A  good dose of sunshine without use of toxic sunscreen is the best thing for your skin. I do take cod liver oil daily (even in the summer), and I supplement with all the essential vitamins and minerals, as well as many herbal supplements.

"Although I am fair-skinned, and used to get sunburned easily, I no longer experience sunburn, and I have not used a sun-block in over two years. Even after longer than recommended sun exposure I am seemingly unaffected by the sun's damaging rays. Supplementation has made my skin healthier, more supple, and much more resistant to abrasions. Skin injuries heal faster, as well.

"I knew my skin had become healthier, so I put it to the test this year.  Last May, my wife and I vacationed 2 weeks on the equator. I used no sunscreen, spending a great deal of time outdoors during peak solar hours, and I did not burn at all. I tanned slightly, and never experienced sunburn.

"I did not lay out in the sun, as I do not believe that to be wise, but I swam, walked, and played in the sun with no ill effects. Had I done this two years ago, I would have burnt to a crisp. I am a 59 year old builder, and am outside a great deal, so sun exposure is nothing new to me. My sun tolerance ability has improved tremendously.

"Proper diet, good supplementation, and moderate exercise helps in so many ways. This is but one example of their effectiveness."

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+ Sources and References
  • American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry December 2006; 14(12): 1032-1040
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