Today's Chicago Woman

Vitamin D Lifts Mood During Cold Weather Months

Just when we thought we had seen the last of the Chicago winter weather, thermometers took a plunge this weekend. So, what are Chicagoans supposed to do to get through these last few weeks of winter? A daily dose of vitamin D may be the answer. This nutrient lifts mood during cold weather months when days are short and more time is spent indoors.

Vitamin D is quickly becoming the "it" nutrient with health benefits for diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and now diabetes. Despite the nutrient's widely reported health benefits, vitamin D deficiency continues to be a problem. Chicago winters compound this issue when more people spend time away from sunlight, which is a natural source of vitamin D.

People at risk for certain chronic diseases can be screened for low vitamin D levels. This will allow health-care professionals to identify a nutrient deficiency early on and intervene to improve the long term health of these individuals.

Diet alone may not be sufficient to manage vitamin D levels. A combination of adequate dietary intake of vitamin D, exposure to sunlight, and treatment with vitamin D2 or D3 supplements can decrease the risk of certain health concerns. The preferred range in the body is 30 - 60 ng/mL of 25(OH) vitamin D.

My colleagues plan to take vitamin D research a step further by evaluating whether weekly vitamin D supplements improve blood sugar control and mood in women with diabetes. Depression is associated with increased insulin resistance, so people with diabetes have a greater risk for the disease than those without depression. Women also tend to have greater rates of depression and poorer blood sugar control than men with diabetes.

There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplementation may decrease insulin resistance. Research may shed greater light on the role this nutrient plays in managing these two conditions, which impact millions of Americans. If we can stabilize insulin levels, we may be able to simply and cost effectively improve blood sugar control and reduce symptoms of depression.

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1 Comment

jacquelinenh said:

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Thanks for covering this issue! Here's a an article I found very helpful in figuring out if I was getting enough D: Is vitamin D deficiency casting a cloud over your health?

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