Menopausal mood swings are no joke and if you feel you are suffering more than most then it could be down to something as simple as a lack of vitamin D.
Over the last year it seemed as if you couldn’t open a newspaper without some new benefit of vitamin D being hailed – in fact it has been described as a wonder vitamin. We know we need it for strong bones and maintaining muscle mass, but it also is being studied for diabetes, heart disease, various cancers and immune response.
Twenty minutes of sun exposure a day is recommended to get optimal minimum amounts of vitamin D but in northern climes like the UK we are unlikely to get the amount that we need. Figures from the USA indicate that less than 10% of the population get the recommended daily amount and they are mostly outdoor workers who get the benefit of any sunshine that is going.
Women and Mood
It was reported last month that a substantial new benefit has been discovered. Women with moderate to severe depression had substantial improvement in their symptoms of depression after they received treatment for their vitamin D deficiency according to a new study.
It was in Houston at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in June that this came to light, but this was a microscopically small study so it may be too early to dance for joy. The study was undertaken by Sonal Pathak, MD, an endocrinologist at Bayhealth Medical Center in Dover, Delaware. Her findings are based on only three women who ranged in age from 42 to 66. All had previously diagnosed with clinical depression, and were on antidepressants. They were also were being treated for either Type 2 diabetes or an underactive thyroid and had risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, such as low vitamin D intake and poor sun exposure.
The women did not change their antidepressant medications or other environmental factors that relate to depression and over eight to 12 weeks were given oral vitamin D. This gave them normal levels after treatment, all three women reported significant improvement in their depression.
Other studies have suggested that vitamin D has an effect on mood and depression, but Dr Pathak is calling for screening at-risk depressed patients for vitamin D deficiency as she believes that correction of the patients’ underlying shortage of vitamin D might be responsible for the beneficial effect on depression.
Mood swings and depression are helped by the action of bioidentical natural progesterone, but if you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency it would make sense to consider supplementation to maximize the effect of the natural hormone.
Vitamin D is not readily available from food – raw Atlantic herring is the best source – and nutritionist Patrck Holford recommends that those who live in the northern hemisphere or have decreased bone mass (osteoporosis) or a cancer risk have a 25mg capsule a day or one drop of an oral vitamin D supplement. Although this is a small study, the undoubted benefits to overall health of adequate vitamin D make it a sensible addition to your daily routine.