Mood and Vitamin D
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Good morning lovelies! The sun is starting to shine so beautifully with nearly the same intensity when I was captured in this picture and therefore, I thought of writing a post to remind you about the important link between vitamin D and mood.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a hormone produced by our body when we expose our bare skin to sunlight️.
Can I get vitamin D through my diet?
Yes, you can. Foods also contain vitamin D. However, only a small number of foods have it. Here is a list:
oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines;
fortified products such as plant-based milk;
Whilst you can get this vitamin from some foods as mentioned above, exposure to sunlight remains the main way to get your good fix during spring and summer time
or alternatively, via supplementation. The lack of sunlight and therefore, vitamin D circulating in your body, can affect serotonin levels – the hormone that influences mood, sleep and appetite. A decrease in serotonin levels in the body can lead to feelings of depression.
I was surprised to hear last year that many people are still vitamin D deficient despite living in a sunny country such as Italy. The culprit? As we are all unique individual your body possibly might not absorb nutrients and vitamins at an optimum level or you might spend time in the sun but all covered up by clothes and SPF cream.
Whilst it is important to protect your skin from sunburn, in order to get your vitamin D you should expose at least 40% of your body without any sunscreen for around half the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn at least 3 times a week. This could be just 15 minutes for a very fair skinned person or a couple of hours or more for dark-skinned individuals.
Whenever you can, go check with your doctor and ask to have a blood test done to see your vitamin D levels. When I first had mine checked my level was at 47. It increased to 75 after a course of supplements and hit 100 after the sunny days we had last summer in the UK. Remember, you really want to keep your level around 100 + to feel on top of the world.
Furthermore, your body cannot make vitamin D if you are sitting indoors by a sunny window because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays (the ones your body needs to make vitamin D) cannot get through the glass. However, daylight is very important because it regulates our body clock, known as circadian rhythm. Therefore, even though it might be not sunny, it is important you keep spending time outside, just sitting to let your body absorbed light.
Unfortunately, we are now missing daylight time like never before, as in many countries around the world people must stay indoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Natural daylight is crucial for good health and, if you have a terrace, a garden or a conservatory is fantastic; just keep using them. However, if you are not this fortunate to have a place where you can get direct sunlight then perhaps, you could start thinking of getting a SAD lamp. Have you ever heard of this? SAD lights produce a very bright light that mimics sunlight. It is thought that the light encourages your brain to produce serotonin and you can get hold of one over the internet. I have not tried one yet. However, I would consider getting a SAD lamp, if I did not have a bright space indoors.
Anyway, that's all for this week. I hope you have learnt something new today and speak very soon.