December 16, 2009
Supplement that fights osteoporosis also prevents depression
The calendar says we have a few days left until winter officially starts. But the weather in many parts of the country says winter is already here. And winter is a time of cabin fever and a greater risk of depression. However, one of my favorite osteoporosis fighters also puts a stop to winter depression.
I've told you in the past that one reason depression is so common in the winter is your body's low production of melatonin. Daylight stimulates your pineal gland to make more of this very important hormone.
However, melatonin isn't the only cause. Low vitamin D levels may also affect your moods. And almost everybody has low vitamin D levels in the winter months.
Recently, researchers conducted a large study on seniors. They found that vitamin D was insufficient in patients with both major and minor depression. Vitamin D in these groups was 14% lower than non-depressed controls. And conversely, parathyroid hormone was 33% higher in those with major depression. And it was 5% higher in those with minor depression than controls.
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Vitamin D, as you know, is essential for calcium absorption. If you don't have enough calcium, and you're deficient in vitamin D to pick it up from your diet, then parathyroid hormone kicks in. The problem with the latter is that parathyroid hormone robs calcium from your bones.
This study shows it's quite possible that cabin fever and winter blues are as related to vitamin D as melatonin. Both are connected to less sun exposure. What I found interesting in this study was that the severity of depression increased as vitamin D levels decreased. That shows a direct correlation.
Again, I encourage you to take 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily year round. Consider 10,000 units daily in dead of winter. I'm currently taking 50,000 units twice weekly since even my vitamin D level was in the lower third of the reference range in the winter. My preferred source is from the folks at Advanced Bionutritionals. Their vitamin D3 has 5,000 units per capsule. Take two daily for the next four months.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Ref: "Depression is associated with decreased 25-hydroxyvitamin D and increased parathyroid hormone levels in older adults," Hoogendijk WJ, Lips P, et al, Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2008; 65(5): 508-12.