Can lack of vitamin D can contribute to seasonal affective disorder (sad)?
Less sun light during winter months can dampen your mood and affect the vitamin D levels in your body. So one may think there is a link between the “sunshine” vitamin and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Scientfic studies have addressed the issue, but the results have all been inconclusive. In 1993 study performed in Boston found no benefit for vitamin D supplements over a placebo. Yet a small study performed in 1999 on patients with seasonal affective disorder, found that large doses of vitamin D were more effective than the standard light therapy. Other multiple studies have also linked low vitamin D levels to mood disorders in the elderly.
Scientists have found that specialized cells in the retina respond to long-term light exposure and communicate directly with the brain, this may be the reason light affects our mood. Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Light boxes used in studies related to treatment of seasonal affective disorder do not produce the same UV rays as the sun. Patients must sit under a light for 45 minutes a day in order to consume the daily amunt of vitamin d needed. It is much more convenient to take a pill, but scientist also recommend getting outdoors during the winter as often as possible.
People should not underestimate the potential of vitamin D supplements. Studies have linked the vitamin to prevention of colon and breast cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis, taking 1000 or 2000 IU per day as a supplement could benefit your health on many levels.