Awhile back I was talking to a doctor about Vitamin D deficiency in regards to mood. Vitamin D is important in helping our bodies process calcium for strong bones and it helps cells communicate properly. There has also been quite a bit of research on Vitamin D and its effect on mood, depression and other mental disorders. In some cases, it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect, in others, it seems to help people in the winter.
Vitamin D and the Cold Weather States
Living in Michigan, we hear all the time about how everyone here is probably low in Vitamin D. Due to our rainy fall weather and cloudy, gloomy winters, we don’t get enough sunshine. I’ve heard that anyone who lives where it snows regularly probably is low on Vitamin D.
There are foods that have Vitamin D – eggs, milk, and fish like tuna and mackerel, but those are things people don’t necessarily eat a lot of. People are turning to milk alternatives, and while I love the oily fishes, I know I am in the minority.
The interesting thing that my doctor told me was: when she was in med school she had a friend from Arizona, also studying medicine, who was up visiting. They decided to do a vitamin D test on her to see if it really was the weather. In fact, her friend came up vitamin deficient too. Obviously, this is just one anecdotal story, but I thought it was fascinating that it wasn’t just that “we live in Michigan” that makes us Vitamin D deficient. If you think about it, more and more people are also (and rightfully so,) taking care to protect themselves from too much sun exposure, so that affects it too.
So, What About Me?
I was curious about myself. My mother is Vitamin D deficient and takes a supplement, but she has many concerns about skin cancer and takes pains to keep out of the sun. On the other hand, for someone who has a desk job, I get a lot of sunshine. My dog and I walk a couple miles a day, even in the winter. I have two different friends that I have standing weekly walking dates with. Instead of going out for lunch or something like that, we walk together for an hour. I eat quite a few eggs, oily fishes and I drink milk. But, I had been having some drops in mood and it felt seasonal. My energy was down. I was wondering if it could be related to Vitamin D. I decided to have it tested.
Sure enough, I was low. Not terribly, but enough that a supplement would be a good idea. (I use this one by Thorne Research I like their products. But I am not a doctor, just someone who reads a lot. Please make your own decisions.) And I have to say, I have been feeling better. But is it the supplement, or the excitement of a new blog and the hint of spring we’ve been getting lately? It’s a little too soon to say, either way, I’ll take it!