Researchers say Vitamin D deficiency could be partly responsible for the winter blues.
According to the IBTimes, the findings, based on research by Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT), were recently published to the Medical Hypothesis journal, and suggest a link between lack of exposure to sunlight and manifestations of seasonal affective disorder.
The National Post explains that vitamin D is important to the process of creating serotonin and dopamine, both of which strongly affect mood.
QUT professor and cancer researcher Michael Kimlin said of the study “evidence exists that low levels of dopamine and serotonin are linked to depression, so it’s logical there may be a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms.”
The article also quotes Kimlin as saying “a few minutes of sunlight exposure each day” would likely be enough to keep vitamin D at acceptable levels.
Though boosting vitamin D levels in those with a deficiency might help their depression, it seems to have no effect on those with normal levels.
Earlier this year, MNT reported that Columbia University Medical Center conducted experiments to determine whether supplements could combat depression.
The study found no link between supplementing vitamin D levels and alleviating symptoms of depression, except for those with a deficiency.
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, typically occurs in sufferers in the winter months, and can manifest with symptoms of sadness, anxiety, fatigue, weight fluctuation, and more.
Here are some tips to fight winter depression as provided by NHS Choices:
- Eat vitamin D rich foods
- Sleep only eight hours at night
- Exercise daily
- Follow healthy diet: Include more fruits, vegetables and reduce starchy foods like pasta, potatoes and bread
- Try to relax and reduce stress through breathing techniques or yoga