No one’s immune from the blues. We all have a bad day from time to time. Or find ourselves feeling a bit down.
But those garden-variety doldrums are usually short-lived. They’re nothing a good night’s sleep or some time spent with friends and family can’t fix.
Depression is different. To folks on the outside, it might look the same. But on the inside, it’s not.
Depression doesn’t clear up in a day or two. It can make it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, and just as hard to sleep at night.
When you’re depressed, small tasks can suddenly seem like mountains. Making decisions can feel impossible. You may feel sad, hopeless, or even empty inside. And no amount of urging from loved ones will help turn things around.
In other words, depression can suck the life out of your LIFE.
Now you might think moody teenagers have the depression market all sewn up. But the truth is depression is one of the most common illnesses older folks face.
In fact, six million seniors are battling depression right now.
Low vitamin D linked to depression
But researchers from Trinity College in Ireland have just revealed a solution which could help countless folks overcome their depression. And you’re never going to believe how simple it is.
Raise your vitamin D levels. That’s it. Because it turns out the so-called sunshine vitamin plays a direct role in your mental health.
And we’re not talking about a small influence here either. Older adults in the study who were deficient in vitamin D were a stunning 75 percent more likely to develop major clinical depression over the four years they were being tracked.
And earlier research gives us a clue why.
Seniors at higher risk for low D AND depression
Seniors are at a much higher risk for running low on D. In fact, one study out of Boston found that over half of seniors aren’t getting enough of the vital vitamin.
And that’s a problem because the amount of D you need rises with age…
- under 50, 200 IU per day
- 50-70, 400 IU per day
- over 70, 600 IU per day
But getting an adequate supply of D as you get older is easier said than done. Because as we age, our skin becomes less efficient at absorbing and processing the raw ingredients needed to create the vitamin.
And that means by the time we’re seniors our bodies are making about 30 percent of the vitamin D they once did.
But the roadblocks don’t stop there.
Our kidneys need to convert D into the active form of the vitamin before it can do its many jobs. But since they become less efficient as we age too, the amount of active D in our bodies can plummet by up to 50 percent.
In one final blow, our bodies absorb less calcium as we get older. And since D is dependent on calcium, with less of it to work with it can cause our levels to drop too low.
3 ways to raise your vitamin D levels
But don’t get too discouraged. You CAN fight back, raising your D levels and reducing your risk of depression at the same time.
And I’ll show you how in just three simple steps.
1. Step outside:
When you’re depressed, motivating yourself to spend time outside can be a challenge. But it’s worth the effort since your body uses UV rays to produce vitamin D.
Try to spend 15 to 20 minutes in the sunshine with some skin exposed every day. But keep in mind, depending on the time of year, getting enough UV can be a challenge. So you’ll need some other tricks up your sleeve.
2. Eat more D-rich foods:
Eggs, cheese, and wild-caught fatty fish are all naturally high in vitamin D. You can also look for fortified milk and dairy products.
3. Try a supplement:
Look for a vitamin D supplement from a manufacturer you trust or ask your doctor about a prescription. Just make sure you’re taking vitamin D3, the kind your body can really use.
Depression can make things feel hopeless and dark. But sunshine—and vitamin D—could make life a whole lot brighter. If you suspect your D levels are low go get tested and start working on raising them again.