We could all benefit a little from getting outdoors in the sunshine..

I’m sure you have heard about how important vitamin D is to keep our bones healthy and strong, but have you been told about the link between vitamin D in depression and brain function?

Ever wondered why you may feel a bit down when you’re stuck inside, this may be from a lack of natural sunlight. Studies have shown that there is a link between low serum levels of vitamin D and depression, when subjects were administered with vitamin D there was a significant improvement in depressive symptoms. Vitamin D is also partly responsible for producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for maintaining mood balance. Serotonins impact on mental health is amazing as when your body’s levels are optimal you will feel happier, calm, focused and less anxious. A study in 2007 found that people with depression often had low levels of serotonin and a deficiency in serotonin has also been linked to anxiety and insomnia.

We all have days when our brain feels like it has taken a holiday, this is another amazing link to the importance of vitamin D as it can help keep those neurons firing. Vitamin D is involved in synthesis of acetylcholine, another very important neurotransmitter required for proper memory and cognition as well as motor control. A study has looked at vitamin D levels and cognitive performance and found that those with low vitamin D levels showed slower information processing speeds than those with optimal vitamin D levels and another study has found that the lower a subjects vitamin D levels are the more negatively their performance was impacted during a battery of mental tests compared with those of optimal Vitamin D levels.

The best part is vitamin D is free and easy to obtain. With just 15-30 minute of direct sun exposure 3 times a week being enough to reap the rewards of this amazing vitamin.