Getting a little sunshine in your life really can help with depression. A new study has found that vitamin D, already an essential part of good health, can do more than help prevent cancer. With just 10 minutes in the sun a day, you can chemically alter your body to help you fight off depression. Even when it’s not cloudy, it’s worth taking vitamin D supplements to ensure you always have enough in your system.
Areas famous for cloudy weather, while great for a cup of coffee or tea, can also be prime areas for the onset of a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sunshine plays a profound role in the health of our mental and physical state.
A study conducted by the University of Georgia, the University of Pittsburgh and Australia’s Queensland University of Technology looked at the data from numerous other studies in order to draw conclusions on the relationship between SAD and vitamin D. Their results were published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.
They found that a vitamin D deficiency, rather than being one factor of many in SAD, could actually regulate its onset. In other words, more vitamin D, less depression.
According to Alan Stewart, part of the study and an associate professor at UGA, “We believe there are several reasons for this, including that vitamin D levels fluctuate in the body seasonally, in direct relation to seasonally available sunlight.
For example, studies show there is a lag of about 8 weeks between the peak in intensity of ultraviolet radiation and the onset of SAD, and this correlates with the time it takes for UV radiation to be processed by the body into vitamin D.”
Vitamin D is already an essential part of building and maintaining strong bones. It improves Insulin Efficiency while helping prevent dementia, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke and infectious diseases. Recently, it has even been shown to help lower risk of prostate cancer and even Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The vitamin D created by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunshine also aids in the production of serotonin and dopamine. Low levels of these two hormones has been associated with depression, so vitamin D may have a further effect helping us have plenty.
Even if you live in a sunny climate, you may not be getting all the sunshine you need to keep up your vitamin D. Considering how crucial it is to short and long-term health, Dr. Steve recommends most people take a vitamin D supplement. When purchasing a supplement, be sure to buy one containing vitamin D3, sometimes listed as cholecalciferol. Vitamin D3 is the type of vitamin D created when you get sunshine.
When you are able to get outside for a bit, you don’t need to go sunbathing to get enough exposure. According to Olumia Life Chief Scientist Dr. Steven Willey, “Just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure to the hands and face two or three times a week can give your vitamin D levels a good boost.”
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