All Work and No Sunlight

SciShort_3_26_15New research from OSU, including contributions from several departments and the Linus Pauling Institute, confirms that low vitamin D levels in otherwise healthy young women does indeed correlate to depression. This confirms the widely held belief that vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, though there isn’t a tremendous amount of other research that shows this phenomenon.

When I first moved to Oregon I was concerned that the lack of sunshine would make me a little depressive. Thankfully I was totally wrong; it didn’t make me just a little depressive. Dr. David Kerr, an associate professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU, is the lead author of the study. He explained the importance of the vitamin.

“Depression has multiple, powerful causes and if vitamin D is part of the picture, it is just a small part. But given how many people are affected by depression, any little inroad we can find could have an important impact on public health,” said Kerr in a press release.

Vitamin D plays a significant role in aiding human bones, muscles, and the immune system, and a lack of sufficient levels has been linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Unlike vitamin E, which needs to be consumed and has a debatable role in health, vitamin D is created in the human body when sunlight hits our skin. So in places where the sun shines regularly, no supplement is necessary.

Corvallisites and Oregonians in general may want to consider adding some to their diet, via milk or a supplement, to avoid a mean case of the gloomies.

“Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available,” Kerr said in the press release. “They certainly shouldn’t be considered as alternatives to the treatments known to be effective for depression, but they are good for overall health.”

By Sidney Reilly