Do you find yourself sitting indoors most days, either at home or work, avoiding the sun? According to The Vitamin D Council, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, around 75% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. This is concerning due to the fact that Vitamin D is important for maintaining good overall health and strong bones. It is very difficult to get enough Vitamin D from your diet because few foods contain it. Instead, your skin needs direct sunlight exposure to be able to produce the necessary amount. If you don’t live in a geographical area that has sunshine all year round, you are more likely to have a Vitamin D deficiency.
I am curious about the relationship between Vitamin D supplementation and mental health. It has always been my impression that a lack of sunlight, or Vitamin D, worsens depression symptoms. A study published in November 2014, led by the University of Georgia confirms my suspicion. The researchers examined 100 leading articles on Vitamin D and seasonal affective disorder and concluded that there is a definite link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression.
University of Georgia College of Education now suggests that it may significantly impact mental health.
I am aware that I stay indoors too much and am without a doubt Vitamin D deficient. One of my New Year Resolutions is to be more active and go outside more often… during the winter and summer. Thanks to moving to the country and using a wood furnace to heat my house, I should not have a problem doing this! So along with this new resolution, I have also decided to take Vitamin D supplements. I have already been taking them for two weeks and plan to continue taking them during our long Michigan winter to see if it helps alleviate any depression symptoms. I am taking TrueSynergy Vitamin D-3 Supplements with each capsule containing 5000 IU. The bottle recommends taking one capsule every two days with a fat-containing meal, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner for a dietary supplement. The bottle states:
Our Vitamin D-3 softgels supply this key vitamin in a highly absorbable liquid softgel form. Vitamin D is normally obtained from the diet or produced by the skin from the ultraviolet energy of the sun. However, it is not abundant in food. As more people avoid sun exposure, Vitamin D supplementation becomes even more necessary to ensure that your body receives an adequate supply. View product on Amazon.
So far, I have noticed a positive change in my daily energy levels.
My normal sleep routine consists of going to bed around 1:00AM, waking up to feed my baby around 4:00AM, and waking up when both of my children wake up at 8:30AM. I average 7 hours of sleep with interruption, and therefore, I am typically grumpy every morning. If the children are playing with toys and/or watching cartoons, I can go back to sleep on the couch until 11:00AM. Of course, I am still constantly interrupted with hungry children, rough housing, and millions of innocent toddler questions but I feel like the continuous 5-10 minute catnaps actually help me survive the rest of the day!
While I have been taking the Vitamin D supplements, nothing has changed with my sleep schedule but I miraculously feel less tired in the morning. I am still very much a night person and wake up feeling like I want to go back to bed, but somehow I manage to STAY awake! This makes me believe that the Vitamin D supplements are helping with my depression symptoms because normally I can never find a good enough reason to want to wake up. Regardless, it is definitely making me feel more rested and energized throughout the day.
Overall, I like taking the TrueSynergy Vitamin D-3 supplements. It is a very small capsule that is easy to swallow and gentle on my stomach. The most important benefit I get is increased energy levels, which is what any mother or overworked person needs! I like that it is recommended to take every other day. The bottle comes with 120 capsules so it lasts about eight months. My only complaint is that the capsules are unnecessarily made with gelatin. I want to avoid as many animal products as possible, and this supplement is interfering with that goal.
If you decide that you want to take Vitamin D supplements, it is always advised to consult with your doctor first.