Updated: Feb 24
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, roughly 1 billion people worldwide have insufficient levels of vitamin D…and I'm one of them.
Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are associated with clinically depressive symptoms. While your mood can improve with just 10 minutes of sun exposure, in the winter months, you may not be getting as much as your body needs. In this case, you may notice your mood deteriorate, signaling that you most likely need to supplement for your lack of sunshine.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Depression affects nearly 121 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or "winter blues", is a classification of depression that largely contributes to these numbers.
Less sun exposure in winter months, means less production of vitamin D and more opportunity to develop SAD.
SAD is a recurrent depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern that begins in the fall and peaks during the winter solstice when the days are shortest, and tends to be more prevalent in women (sorry ladies).
Are you really sad or are you SAD?
If you're like me, you are a solar-powered machine who is undeniably afflicted by lack of sunshine. The inevitable winter blues tend to induce feelings of sadness and loss of energy as vitamin D plays a vital role in serotonin activity. When vitamin D was first discovered, it was classified as a vitamin but we now know it is actually a pro-hormone, which acts as a hormone in the body. This makes perfect sense to me (and Mr. Holistic Heckler), because when my vitamin D levels are out of whack, so are my moods!
Not feeling myself, wildly emotional, uninterested and detached, I decided to have my doctor order a nutritional panel. When you have low vitamin D levels, every cell in your body is at risk of not working properly, so any disease or dysfunction may be attributed to low vitamin D levels.
Signs of Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency:
Muscle, bone or back pain
Slow wound healing
Skin disorders like dermatitis
Roughly 1 billion people worldwide have insufficient levels of Vitamin D…and I'm one of them
My blood test results show my vitamin D levels are just slightly in the insufficient range, and that's enough to make me feel WAY OFF.
The doctor's orders
Thankfully, my doctor didn't throw me out the door with depression medication (which I would've refused). Instead, I was advised to supplement for my low vitamin D levels. This is an excellent recommendation, but I was concerned.
Not all supplements are created equal
The FDA is responsible for keeping dangerous products from hitting the shelves, but lacks the resources to regulate the $37 billion supplement industry. Because of this, tainted supplements hit the market and send thousands of people to the hospital every year.
The supplement industry is largely unregulated.
Most companies make their vitamin D supplements by extracting lanolin (lamb lard) and then washing it in a detergent, sending it through a series of saponification processes and then adding a bunch of fillers and synthetic ingredients. GROSS. While I do want to increase my vitamin D levels, this is not a viable way for me to do it.
As someone who initially went vegan for health reasons, but is now vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, I was reading everything I could on the subject of how to responsibly and healthfully supplement my nutritional needs.
The Bottled Sunshine at the end of the tunnel
Thankfully, a supplement company I trust due to their rigorous testing and certifications, developed a vegan Vitamin D3 supplement made with organic ingredients derived from a plant-based source called Lichens.
So, if you're one of the billion people with insufficient vitamin D levels who can't step outside for your daily dose of vitamin D, I encourage you to get Bottled Sunshine, an easy and cost-effective therapy to improve your health and quality of life.
When it comes to supplements, quality is the key ingredient!
While high-quality supplements help fill nutritional gaps, you need to be aware that not all supplements are created equal. Ensure you're taking a supplement that has clean ingredients, high-quality standards, and testing/certifications that back up the claims.
Supplements are not made to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle, but to supplement one and to ensure that your nutrient levels are optimal. Getting a vitamin D blood test twice a year is invaluable, even during the summer months.
Get more tips on how to reduce and eliminate anxiety
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
1. Nair, R., & Maseeh, A. (2012). Vitamin D: The "sunshine" vitamin. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics (3)2, 118–126. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.95506
2. Penckofer, S., Kouba, J., Byrn, M., & Estwing Ferrans, C. (2010). Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?. Issues in mental health nursing (31)6, 385–393. doi:10.3109/01612840903437657
3. Schlenker, E. & Gilbert, A. J. (2018). Williams’ essential of nutrition and diet therapy (12th ed) St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
4. Targum, S. D., & Rosenthal, N. (2008). Seasonal affective disorder. Psychiatry (5)5, 31–33.