Sunlight, vitamin D and depression
“EVEN the darkest night will end and the sun will rise” (Victor Hugo). After two typhoons, who does not have a renewed appreciation of sunlight? The over-all atmosphere becomes bright, thus affecting our mood. Exposure to sunlight reportedly helps the brain produce more serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Sunlight, as we were all taught, is a source of Vitamin D which is needed for development of bones and muscles.
One study found that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression. This is why a public health advice for England recommends Vitamin D supplements during autumn and winter months. (The dosage depends on age and other factors, so a doctor must be consulted.)
Simon Spedding’s claim is in harmony with this: “The association between depressive disorders and Vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure is well established and was first noted two thousand years ago, therefore we considered the evidence for the effectiveness of Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is a unique secosteroid hormone formed mainly by photosynthesis, so an indoor lifestyle and sun-avoidance leads to deficiency….” (US National Center for Biotechnology Information)
Harvard’s School of Public Health says, “Being ‘D-ficient’ may increase the risk of a host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even the seasonal flu”. Being afflicted with any of these diseases – besides being a real medical problem affecting all aspects of life – is also a risk to developing depression, so bask in the sun – but avoid too much exposure, especially between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Marilyn Arayata: inspirational author, columnist, speaker, and former DLSU-D faculty, your partner in preventing bullying, depression, and suicide. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Like the Hope Boosters Facebook Page for nuggets of hope and inspiration.
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