Vitamin D: Relationship with Depression and Anxiety

Vitamin D: Relationship with Depression and Anxiety

Some studies have shown that a person experiencing depression or anxiety becomes one of the signs of Vitamin D deficiency. It's the Relationship of Vitamin D in Depression and Anxiety.

Read: Here's What Can Happen to the Body If It's Excess Vitamin D

Are you deficient in vitamin D? There's a good chance you might be an American. About 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, but the percentage is greater in certain populations. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is produced naturally in the body.

However, most Americans don't get enough. Research shows that there is a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety and depression. Individuals struggling with mental illness can turn to problematic behaviors to mask the pain.

A double diagnosis is when a person has some health condition. These include mental illnesses that usually occur simultaneously. 

Vitamin D and Depression

Many experts have inquired, "Does vitamin D help with depression?"

The scientific community responded with mixed answers. Like most scientific hypotheses, some argue that there is no strong enough connection while others say that.

A team of scientists examined 61 peer-reviewed studies on vitamin D and depression. In the end, they saw that there was a negative correlation between this vitamin and depression. In other words, people with low vitamin D levels have a higher risk of developing clinical depression. While this does not mean it can cure clinical depression, it is potentially helpful, especially in specific sub-groups.

Does Vitamin D Overcome Depression?

Evidence suggests that vitamin D can help with depression, regardless of what some scientists feel. To clarify, most scientists dispute the link between this vitamin and depression because there is not enough research on it. However, some studies show promising results.

For example, one study found that some brain receptors are related to vitamin D and depression. It is further said that vitamin D can act on cells and stimulate cell growth. In theory, vitamin D deficiency can limit this behavior and inhibit cell growth. This may inhibit overall brain function.

Cambridge University Press created a list of journals aimed at finding a link between vitamin D and depression. Meta-analysis and review found that people with depression appeared to have low levels of vitamin D. They concluded that depression is more likely to appear in people with vitamin D deficiency than in people with normal or high levels.

So, does vitamin D help with depression? Evidence suggests that people struggling with depression have low levels of vitamin D. This may help, despite limited research. Either way, it is an essential nutrient for the following reasons:

  • Helps bone health
  • Prevents heart disease
  • May prevent multiple sclerosis
  • Helps the body regulate blood sugar levels


It is clear that vitamin D is essential for overall health. Physical illness can lead to mental illness. It is critical to consume adequate vitamin D to maintain a healthy body and mind.

Does Vitamin D Help SAD?

Vitamin D is frequently prescribed by doctors to help with the seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to research, it may be just as beneficial as a light treatment. Since the 1980s, one of the most common kinds of treatment for this type of depression has been light therapy. Vitamin D insufficiency is common in SAD patients.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that people experience during a given season. They tend to experience depression during the fall of the winter months (winter patterned SAD/winter depression) when there is less sunlight, but it can also occur during spring and summer. This less common type of SAD is summer pattern SAD or summer depression.

Other forms of treatment for SAD include:

  • Speech therapy (Cognitive behavioral therapy for SAD)
  • Fluoxetine
  • Citalopram
  • Sertraline
  • Paroxetine
  • Escitalopram
  • Bupropion (extended-release form)

Research shows that SAD may occur due to a lack of regular sunlight. When exposed to sunshine, the skin creates vitamin D. Deficiencies are linked to a number of health issues, including SAD.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

It is normal to feel sad. However, sometimes it is not. This is the case when a person has been feeling depressed for a long period of time. If a person has been depressed for two weeks or more, they should consult a doctor.

Signs of depression are:

  • Constant feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Increased irritability
  • Loss of interest in fun activities
  • Looks moving or speaking slower than usual
  • Drastic appetite or sleep changes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Random health problems without immediate cause
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty making decisions

Vitamin D and Anxiety

It seems that more scientists agree on the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety than depression. In fact, some scientific community members are skeptical about how much it helps to overcome anxiety. Regardless, some studies have found that vitamin D deficiency can increase anxiety.

One study provided participants with vitamin D deficiency supplements for six months. They used a Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale-14 to assess participants' anxiety levels. One group did not receive vitamin D supplements.

Ultimately, vitamin D supplements significantly helped reduce anxiety symptoms in the group compared to the group that did not take them. Further studies on the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety.

The Relationship Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Anxiety

Various studies explain the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. Research in the Journal of Diabetes conducted a study to see if the supplement could improve mental health and type 2 diabetes.

Forty-six women participated in the study for six months and completed a survey on their mental health. The study found that taking vitamin D supplements significantly lowered anxiety levels in women suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Another study found that those who suffered from anxiety had lower levels of calcidiol. Solved vitamin D produces a by-product, calcidiol. The study noted that low vitamin D levels are thought to increase the likelihood of depression, diabetes, and cancer.

The study also notes that literature from thousands of years ago hinted at a link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. An ancient text wrote about poor mental health after lack of sun exposure.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

Stress signals to the body that it must take action. This is great for life-threatening situations but can cause both physical and mental problems if it gets out of hand. People with anxiety disorders feel a level of stress that is not comparable to the situation at hand.

There are different types of anxiety. Some may feel anxious in a social environment whereas others will feel it constantly for no reason. They all share common symptoms.

Signs of anxiety are:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • The impending sense of doom
  • Feeling restless
  • Difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Constant worries
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Increased irritability
  • The mind is sometimes empty
  • Unsourced health problems
  • Inability to hold back tears

How to Treat Vitamin D Deficiency

Eat a Healthy Diet

There are many foods that contain a lot of vitamin D. Eating foods that contain vitamins can help treat vitamin D deficiency. In fact, some drinks and foods are enriched with this vitamin.

A study of vitamin D and depression listed these types of foods as a form of treatment:

  • Atlantic herring
  • Canned pink salmon
  • Channel catfish
  • Light canned tuna
  • Yogurt Yoplait 
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Chicken
  • Egg
  • Fortified milk (including soy milk)
  • Fortified cereals


There are many types of foods enriched with vitamin D. Examples include juices, pasta, and even margarine. Making conscious efforts to choose fortified foods can help with vitamin D deficiency and anxiety and depression.

Spend More Time Outside

Everyone has vitamin D receptor cells. In turn, it produces vitamin D3. Too much sun can damage the skin and cause cancer. However, it is still important to get regular sunlight.

Some medical professionals recommend getting about 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight daily (without sunscreen). People with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun than those with pale skin. Apply sunscreen right after to avoid sunburn or serious health complications in the future.

Take Vitamin D Supplements

A powerful way to fight vitamin D deficiency is through supplements. Vitamin D supplements are available in liquid or pill form. The doctor may prescribe a higher dose of this nutrient to take once a week. Most pharmacies and grocery stores provide vitamin D supplements daily.

Taking one small pill can prevent anxiety and depression. It is worth a try because it is cost-effective and has few side effects. In fact, it is best to talk to a medical professional when deciding to take supplements or overcome malnutrition.

That’s the article about vitamin D's relationship with depression and anxiety, hope it may be useful! 

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