Vitamin D Deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder

Vitamin D insufficiency has been connected to enhanced threat of asthma, cancer and chronic pain, among other situations. Now, a new research leads by investigators from the University of Georgia associates lower vitamin D levels with higher risk of seasonal affective disorder.

The study team – lead by Alan Stewart presented their discoveries in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a kind of depression that generally starts in the fall, continuous during the winter months – impacts up to 10% of the US population. Signs contain going through depressing or stressed, fatigue, concentration issues, frustration and emotions of guilt and hopelessness.

Even though the specific reason for SAD is not clear, several researches have recommended the problem may be activated by lack of sun light. SAD is much more well-known among people who reside at high altitudes or places with lots of cloud.

One theory behind SAD is that lowered sunlight exposure impedes with the body’s biological clock that controls mood, rest and hormones. A different principle is that insufficiency of sun light results in an imbalance of neurotransmitters – like as dopamine and serotonin – which manage mood.

In this recent research, Stewart and co-workers provide the idea that vitamin D deficiency may be behind all of the previously mentioned theories relevant to SAD.

“We hypothesize that rather than executing primarily as a proximal or direct sub-mechanism in the etiology of SAD, vitamin D probably functions in a more fundamental and regulative function in potentiating the sub-mechanisms related with the depressive and seasonality aspects,” say the investigators.

First of all, the scientists note that vitamin D levels in the body go up and down with the modifying seasons in reaction to accessible sunlight.

“For instance,” says Stewart, “research show there is a lag of around 8 weeks in between the peak in strength of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the onset of SAD, and this fits with the time it needs for UV radiation to be prepared by the system into vitamin D.”

Co-author Michael Kimlin, states that vitamin D also performs a aspect in the functionality of both dopamine and serotonin, noting that previous study has related low levels of these neurotransmitters with depression.

“For that reason,” he adds, “it is reasonable that there may be a connection among low levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms. Investigation have also recognized depressed patients generally had reduced levels of vitamin D.”

The scientists also think there is a association between skin pigmentation and vitamin D levels, which may impact an person’s threat for SAD. They explain that study have proven that people with darker skin pigmentation are at greater risk of vitamin D inadequacy, and if such people move to high-altitude regions, they may have a greater chance of developing SAD.

Leaving comments on their concepts, Kimlin states that:

“What we know now is that there are powerful signs that keeping adequate levels of vitamin D are also essential for good mental health. A few mins of sunlight exposure each day must be sufficient for most individuals to maintain an sufficient vitamin D status.”

Vitamin D and schizophrenia

This is not the initial research to connect vitamin D deficiency with mental health situations.

Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, PhD and colleagues identified that research individuals with vitamin D insufficiency were 2.16 times more probably to have schizophrenia than individuals with normal vitamin D levels.

“Our results support the principle that vitamin D may have a considerable effect on psychiatric health,” stated Esmaillzadeh. “More study is required to figure out how the increasing issue of vitamin D insufficiency may be impacting our overall health.”