Women are 50 percent more likely than men to suffer from a mood disorder during their lives, and approximately 9.5 percent of American adults suffer from a mood disorder each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A person's mood or emotional state can be affected to such an extent that a mental disorder such as depression or seasonal affective disorder develops. Low levels of vitamin D may play a role in some mood disorders.
The myth that everyone feels down during the winter is untrue. Many people are unaffected by seasons and weather, according to a study conducted at Humboldt University in Berlin. However, some people do feel depression associated with weather, and a deficiency in vitamin D may be an underlying cause. The variation in mood related to seasonal changes is well documented, says Professor Sue Penchofer. A study published in 1999 in the "Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging" is just one example of research that found a link between vitamin D and mood. Participants with low vitamin D levels who took supplements during the trial reported better scores on the Hamilton Depression scale.
Vitamin D deficiency among the elderly is relatively common. This issue may be linked to psychiatric and neurologic disorders. The relationship between vitamin D and mood in older people was the subject of a study published in a 2006 edition of "The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry." The findings showed that older people with vitamin D deficiencies did suffer from low moods. Their cognitive performance also was affected. Another study published in a 2010 issue of "The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism" studied 531 women and 423 men aged 65 years or older. The study found that men and women with low levels of vitamin D had greater risks of developing depressed moods.
There may be a correlation between depression and vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight or obese. A study published in a 2008 edition of "The Journal of Internal Medicine" discovered a relationship between depressive symptoms and low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is a form of vitamin D in the body. Treating the participants with vitamin D supplements reduced depressive symptoms. Improvement was seen in groups taking both 20,000 IU weekly and 40,000 IU of the vitamin weekly.
It is possible to get too much vitamin D, which results in a potentially serious medical condition known as hypervitaminosis D. This indicates toxic levels of vitamin D in your body. Hypervitaminosis D causes calcium to build up in your blood, leading to problems such as poor appetite, weakness, vomiting, confusion, constipation and nausea. Ask your doctor what the safest doses of vitamin D are for you.
- Discovery News; Got the Winter Blues? Weather's Effect on Mood Revealed; Larry O'Hanlon; December 2010
- "The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism"; Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and Depressive Symptoms in Older Women and Men; Y. Milaneschi, et al.; July 2010
- Live in the Now; Low Vitamin D May Affect Your Mood, Memory and More; Gale Maleskey, MS, RD; January 2007
- "The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry"; Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated With Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults; C.H. Wilkins, et al.; December 2006
- "The Journal of Internal Medicine"; Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Symptoms of Depression in Overweight and Obese Subjects; R. Jorde, et al.; September 2008