Vitamin D and Improvement in Mood

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is one of the most important vitamins for your body. Unlike other vitamins that are found in food, it can only be absorbed by the human body via sunlight or through dietary supplements. The importance of maintaining a regular intake of vitamin D is essential for many reasons: heart health, healthy bone growth, and also mental health and well-being.

Vitamin D Basics

The vitamin best known for building bones is not limited to this one function. In fact, it is essential for maintaining your overall body and brain health. Optimal levels of vitamin D in your body can help boost your mood and improve your overall brain functions, while improving your well-being in general. The vitamin is involved in the healthy regulation of as many as 900 human genes.

Vitamin D Deficiency

People who do not have the optimal levels of vitamin D in their body are prone to certain cancers while also being highly affected by mood disorders and depression. There has been a strong link found between mood disorders and depression and the deficiency of vitamin D. It has been found that vitamin D tends to increase the level of serotonin in the body, the mood boosting neurotransmitter. This is perhaps the reason that the people with a deficiency of vitamin D in their body are often the victims of mood disorders and depression.

Recommended Daily Dose of Vitamin D

The current recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 400 IU. However, experts suggest that it is well below the actual physiological needs of this vitamin in most individuals. It is suggested that adults should take at least 2000 IU of vitamin D on a daily basis. It is also recommended that you undergo vitamin D blood test every 6 months to know where you stand.

Where to Get Vitamin D?

Sunlight

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Direct exposure to sunlight for 10-30 minutes can boost vitamin D levels in your blood. In case you are not exposed to sunlight on a daily basis, consider buying a vitamin D lamp for your home or work to ensure you do not face a deficiency of the much-needed vitamin.

Supplements

If you are highly deficient in vitamin D, you should consult with your doctor and start taking a vitamin D supplement. Your health care consultant will advise you about the dose you need. You should start taking the supplements right away if you want to steer clear of the problems lack of vitamin D can pose to your body and mind.

Other Mood Boosting Vitamins

In addition to vitamin D, some other vitamins are found to help boost the mood. Omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan, folate, magnesium, and B vitamins are found to help boost your mood. Chocolate and low glycemic foods are also mood boosters.

If you are always in a bad mood, consider getting your vitamin D levels checked to make sure you are not deficient

Calcium and Osteoporosis

There are 206 bones in a human skeleton which contain 99.5% of all the calcium in the body. The calcium present in the bones is available in case your body needs it for other purposes. Calcium is an integral part of well-being in humans and other animals. With the decrease in the levels of calcium in the bones due to any reason, the bones tend to weaken and can result in serious consequences.

Osteoporosis is one of the most common health issues faced by people today. It affects their mortality and morbidity. The intake of a proper amount of calcium is often overlooked by most of the people and even health care providers which lead to the weakening of our bones to the extent that the entire skeleton becomes vulnerable.

What is Calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that is needed by the body for maintaining good health. It is naturally found in some foods while can be added to others. You can also take your needed amount of calcium as a nutrition supplement available in different forms. It is best absorbed through the food we eat and the drinks we consume. If you are not getting the recommended amount of calcium intake, it can lead to the development of osteoporosis in your body.

Why is Calcium Important?

Bones are consistently being remodeled each day with calcium moving in and out of them constantly. In young age, the bone rebuilding process is faster than the rate of its breakdown, so there is an increase in the total bone mass in the body. This process continues until the age of 30. At this age, the rate of breakdown and formation of bones is almost equal. However, once you get past the age of 30, the rate of breakdown of bones increases as compared to their formation. This is very common among post-menopausal women. A diet low in calcium can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

What Happens if the Body Doesn’t Get Enough Calcium?

Children require calcium to build stronger bones. Adults need it to maintain their bones. Inadequate calcium intake can lead to osteoporosis, also known as the brittle bone disease. The people suffering from osteoporosis are at a higher risk of breaking their bones, especially at the spine, wrist, and hip. The fractures take longer to heal and often lead to constant pain and lifelong disability. As many as 12 million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. 25% of the women with osteoporosis often develop a vertebral deformity and 15% of them break a hip. As many as 30% of the people who break their hip die within a year.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

  • Breaking bones easily
  • Gradual loss of height
  • Stooped posture
  • Back pain

Preventing Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can be prevented if you eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. In addition, reducing the intake of beverages containing alcohol and caffeine can also result in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. However, intake of the right amount of calcium is necessary to prevent osteoporosis.

Omega 3 and Lower Heart Rate

Back in the 1970’s, something curious was discovered by Danish researchers about the Inuits in Greenland. Despite consuming a high-fat diet, consisting of 40% fats each day, they had far lower rates of heart diseases and heart attacks than the people in the west. Upon thorough investigation and years of research, the seafood rich diet filled with polyunsaturated omega -3 fatty acids was the reason behind the lower number of heart attacks among Inuits. Since then, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have made headlines, not only for their cardiovascular benefits, but also for the beneficial effects they have on vision, thinking ability, and inflammation.

What is Omega-3?

The American Heart Association has been recommending people for many years to reach omega-3 fatty acids rich fish at least twice a week. They believe that unsaturated fats present in fish can prevent heart diseases and reduce the risk of dying of heart attack. What exactly are these omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the types of unsaturated fatty acids that can help in the reduction of inflammation throughout your body. Heart diseases and attacks are mostly caused by the inflammation of blood vessels that are responsible for the supply of blood to and from all parts of the body. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood clotting, lowers blood pressure, decreases triglycerides and reduces irregular heartbeats that can help prevent heart diseases.

Omega-3 and Heart Rate

Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. The heart rate varies from person to person and is influenced by many factors. The higher the resting heart rate of a person, the higher are the risks of being affected by heart diseases and dying of cardiac arrest. It has been found that with the right intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the resting heart rate is reduced which prevents sudden deaths from heart diseases and heart attacks.

The Best Sources of Omega-3

Since your body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids on its own, you need to get them from dietary sources. There are two main sources of getting your dose of omega-3 fatty acids:

DHA and EPA is found in fatty fish including but not limited to tuna, anchovies, and salmon

Alpha-linolenic acid is found in nuts, vegetable oils, leafy vegetables, flaxseed, and flaxseed oil

A majority of the health benefits that are attributed to omega-3 fatty acids come from DHA and EPA. In most of the cases, you cannot get DHA from any other source than fish. Thus, it is recommended to eat fish regularly to give your body a regular supply of omega-3 fatty acids and keep your heart healthy and strong. If you are not eating fish twice a week, it is recommended by health experts to take omega-3 fatty acid rich supplement to make up for the deficiency.

So, if you are worried about heart diseases, just a couple of servings of fish once a week can reduce your risk of dying of heart attacks by lowering your resting heart rate.