Vitamin D3 Deficiency Making You SAD?
Hot topic for today, readers: SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It’s cold…the sun has decided to take a hiatus… there’s nasty white stuff everywhere congesting roads…it’s cold. LOL. You get my drift. It’s a big thing in my family to be sure, but what is it exactly?
Let’s jump right into this, shall we? Seasonal affective disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic:
“is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”
When Mayo mentioned mood changes during this time of year, I had to shake my head because that’s clearly something I deal with when the weather goes from a beautiful, and comforting 70 degrees to a bone-chilling and downright scary 35 degrees. I have a saying: anything less than 70 degrees is far too cold. A friend of mine is the exact opposite. He loves this type of weather and enjoys chilly, foggy, and rainy weather….I swear, it’s madness!!
One of the things I have struggled with after being released from the hospital back in February 2016 was that I’ve been on the low-level with Vitamin D3. How did I even figure out that I should have this checked? Well, right after the accident, I was released from the hospital but placed directly into physical, occupational, and speech therapy as well as group therapy to deal with my then suicidal thoughts and traumatic brain injury. Not a fun ride. Anyway, while I was in speech therapy one afternoon, the therapist spoke about Vitamin D3 deficiency being a probable contributor to depression! Wow, good to know right? At this point, I was being a sarcastic little brat that didn’t believe that a simple vitamin could help with me wanting to, then, commit suicide because of my TBI.
Not long after that lecture was given in therapy, I had a doctor’s appointment. For craps and giggles, once she was finished with her traditional examination and whatnot, I asked her to check to see what my vitamin D3 levels were. Five sticks later…since the nurse didn’t believe me when I told her that I was a “hard stick,” they finally got the blood they needed to run the test. According to the MyChart results, the standard range for vitamin D should be between 30.0-100.0 ng/mL. I was on the very low-end of that spectrum with my first result measuring at 33.0 ng/mL and after doubling my over the counter vitamin D3 pill, the result raised to a mere 36.0 ng/mL. I was taking 2,000 mg of vitamin D3 I bought from Walmart, and was still on the low-end of the spectrum! However, I started to go tanning at a regular basis and the combination of tanning and the vitamin D3 supplements helped out a bit with my mood towards this ungodly weather change.
I decided to do some more research on the topic of vitamin D3. According to vitamin D council.org,
“Exactly how vitamin D works in the brain isn’t fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain. Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore, researchers have suggested that vitamin D may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression.”
I like taking an over the counter vitamin supplement versus having to result to an actual prescription to help fight depression or SAD, but I had to take the prescription for a short time too, and I have to admit, I feel that helped even more and at a faster rate than the supplements. Both, I feel are a power couple. I’d highly recommend the combination based off personal experience.
Referring back to Mayo Clinic and their explanation of what causes SAD, they list three main causes to be educated on, (I’d like to comment on them, I take no credit for these) and they include:
- Family history: This too makes me shake my head because it’s almost like if anyone in your immediate family has an illness or mental complication–it’s often passed along through family and thus to you. I’m probably just being biased because there are several members of my family (especially the women) who suffer from depression, and extreme anxiety…notice I underlined “extreme.” Lol.
- Already having depression or a bipolar disorder: Ok, I can see why these would worsen the seasonal affective disorder. That’s like throwing fuel on an already raging fire. Needless to say, not good.
- Living a farther distance from the equator: I never actually thought of this, but it makes perfect sense. If you’re far north or south, then you don’t get the same amount of warmth and sunlight. Less sunlight equals less vitamin D which adds to depression and if it’s during specific seasons, then it produces SAD.
As I mentioned, I can see how these three causes are valid considering the first two specifically applies to either myself or family.
Mayo Clinic also listed that there are two types of seasonal affective disorders that I had no idea about. The first is the one I’ve got: Fall and Winter SAD. The second is Spring and Summer SAD. Fall and Winter SAD deals out sleeping complications (sleeping too much), overeating and thus weight gain, and fatigue. Spring and Summer SAD (which doesn’t make sense to me since there’s sunlight everywhere…) gives symptoms such as: insomnia, loss of appetite which causes weight loss, and anxiety.
To close, after all this educational information, my question to you is: Do you have SAD or been diagnosed with it, and if so, which one do you relate to most? Fall/Winter, or Spring/Summer?
What are your thoughts on Vitamin D3 and its probable effects?
“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Oct. 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651.
“Vitamin D and depression.” Vitamin D Council, 2015, http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/depression/.
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