(NaturalNews) It makes sense that diet can impact the way you feel. After all, it comes down to chemical and physiological interactions. Food and people are each combinations of a variety of chemicals, and when they are mingled, there are specific effects. Certain nutrients can have a substantial impact on our mental health. Vitamin D in particular may have the power to prevent and even treat symptoms of depression.
Vitamin D is known to increase serotonin levels in the human brain. Serotonin is a chemical that is key to maintaining a balanced mood and can decrease your chances of feeling depressed. This vitamin is also necessary for the body`s production of dopamine, a potent mood-lifting neurotransmitter.
No one yet knows exactly how much vitamin D is needed for preventing or treating depression because of several factors: where a person lives, skin type, season, and level of exposure to the sun. But it has been observed in studies that depression decreases in those who are affected by seasonal affective disorder whenever winter is on the wane and sunshine is more abundant.
Many health professionals recommend that individuals consume at least 600 IU of vitamin D every day, preferably from food sources instead of supplements. Some experts recommend even higher doses of vitamin D such as a minimum of 1000 IU per day. Fermented cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D, and one teaspoon per day will substantially boost a person`s level of this important vitamin. Mackerel, salmon, and sardines are other good seafood sources of vitamin D.
Pastured eggs, raw organic certified dairy, and organic organ meats like liver and kidney also provide a good source of vitamin D. Obtaining these foods fresh from local sources is important for ensuring the quality is high.
It is also recommended that those who experience depression get plenty of sunlight on their skin. Ultraviolet light is known to help the body produce its own vitamin D. While daily exposure to sunlight can generate ten to twenty thousand international units of vitamin D, there is no concern of a toxic amount. The body easily sheds what it does not use. However, in the winter when it is more difficult to obtain enough sunlight, more care should be taken to ensure that you`re getting plenty of vitamin D in your diet.
Many studies show that vitamin D not only will enhance mood, but is also important in preventing hormone-related cancers such as breast or prostate cancers. That makes this super vitamin all the more important.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...