The Times – 5th September 2023

If you typically feel low with the change in season here’s what to do to boost your mood. By Peta Bee.

7. Take a vitamin D supplement

It’s at this time of year that government guidelines encourage us all to start popping supplements of vitamin D, the best source of which is the sunlight that will be diminishing in coming weeks, to maintain good health. Dr Linia Patel, a registered dietician, says that “just to maintain healthy vitamin D levels in autumn and winter I recommend supplementing with 1,000 IU per day, which is 25 mcg for most of my clients”. There’s conflicting evidence about whether supplementation will help to prevent a mood slump but some respondents in the Big SAD survey believed it helped to alleviate their symptoms. If levels of vitamin D are low, the prognosis might be brighter if you do take a supplement. “There is some research showing that low vitamin D levels, as diagnosed in a blood test, can hinder the production of serotonin, a hormone that influences mood and sleep patterns,” the nutritionist Dominique Ludwig explains. “It has also been suggested that people who lack vitamin D sometimes have lower levels of the chemical dopamine, also associated with positive mood.” A 2022 review of 41 studies by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland found that 50-100 mcg of vitamin D daily was more effective than a placebo in alleviating symptoms in people with depression. But there is no guarantee that taking a supplement will make you feel better. “Other researchers have shown it has no effect on improving mood,” Ludwig says. “There could be a connection, but we need more rigorous proof.”

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Dominique Ludwig

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