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Vitamin D helps depression

Note from Carolyn:
In the Pacific NW where we live, weather related depression is prevalent. I am already in the habit of making sure I get the proper amount of Vitamin D in my daily regimen. My favorite form is the Wellgenix D3 Genix.
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A major fear for many people with depression is the pharmaceutical merry-go-round that comes with it. As doctors try to determine the right drugs and right doses for patients, those patients often spend a long time feeling worse before they feel any better.

And sometimes, they don't get better. Sometimes, drugs just make things worse.

Imagine if that could change. Imagine if all doctors placed stock in research like the new study from the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Then, one of the first things a psychiatrist might do after diagnosing a patient with depression might be to have his or her vitamin D levels checked.

Why? Because in this, the largest investigation of its kind, it was found that low levels of D could go hand-in-hand with major depressive disorder, which affects almost 10 percent of U.S. adults.

Researchers concluded that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients and screening for depression in people who have low vitamin D levels could go a long way to beating this debilitating disorder.

In the study, almost 12,600 participants were followed for four years. It was found that higher levels of vitamin D were linked to a significant decrease in depression risk, especially in people with prior history of depression. Low vitamin D levels, on the other hand, were linked to symptoms of depression.

The exact relationship between vitamin D and depression isn't known, but it could be related to vitamin D's documented effects on neurotransmitters and inflammation.

This study wasn't enough to determine how depression might be treated with vitamin D, but it speaks volumes about the importance of looking to the body's needs before going right to drugs. To paraphrase one of Dr. Wright's favorite sayings, nobody is deficient in antidepressants. So why should that be the first stop in treatment?

I'm feeling a little optimistic, so I'm going to go ahead and say it: All of the good news we've been getting about vitamin D might be the first indications of a sea change when it comes to medicine. It's getting harder and harder to ignore the important roles D plays in our general well-being and in illness treatment and prevention. The more we demand our doctors pay attention to vitamin D and other essential vitamins and nutrients, the more seriously we'll see them taken by medical practitioners in general.

Christine O'Brien - Health eTips
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