There are MANY different causes of Depression, so this is not at all to say the following is the cause. BUT, if it’s been dark out for awhile- like a long winter that I experience in 2018-2019, OR if you avoid the sun entirely because of what you’ve read about cancer, and you’re feeling super depressed or really negative and mentally off, I’m just sharing this because it was important to my mental stability.
As I mentioned, the winter of 2018-2019 was much longer in my area than we usually experience. There was a LOT of snow and rain and darkness for weeks and weeks and weeks all through the end of March. Usually by March we are having some sunny days that warm up a bit but not that year.
I had my vitamin D levels tested towards the end because I was feeling SO off mentally and I just had a feeling that was part of the cause. I actually usually feel pretty mentally good. While I have a lot of health issues, depression isn’t one of them. But man I was feeling SO negative and hopeless about life towards the end of winter and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
I thought it might help you ladies out as well to know – my Vitamin D levels were 15. They are supposed to be between 50-70 according to my lab test. 15!! I got myself out in the sun as soon as we had a few sunny days and I felt mentally so much better just after a couple days of that.
I did some research on how our bodies synthesize vitamin D from the sun – for one, your actual skin has to be in the sun- the rays can’t go through clothes or sunscreen. I even found in this article that one study found that even a level of just SPF 10 sunscreen blocks 90% of UVB rays. It’s the UVB rays that synthesize the vitamin in our skin, and I found out that many people actually go to a tanning salon in the winter for these same rays not to look cute, but to keep their vitamin D levels normal.
I know there are concerns over exposure to sun, and I’m not saying everyone should be in it without sunscreen constantly, but I feel like there is something to this sun and skin thing, because there was a time I took high 5,000 IU Vitamin D drops by mouth years ago when it was low, and I don’t recall it raising my levels much at all. I will be testing my levels again in a couple months after getting my sun and seeing how much it’s raised, but I’m expecting it will be a lot higher.
I also read in this article that when someone is overweight or obese, they aren’t sure why, but oral vitamin D doesn’t seem to absorb properly, so that may be another vote for getting a little real sunlight in a moderation fashion.
This was an interesting section of this article:
“In fact, your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D in just a
little under the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn. You make
the most vitamin D when you expose a large area of your skin, such as
your back, rather than a small area such as your face or arms.”
our skin color makes a big difference in how long it takes to produce
enough vitamin D, and the wonder of it is, those who are very fair
skinned and burn very quickly – guess what? They also produce Vitamin D a
lot faster than others of us, so it’s okay, they don’t need to be in
the sun nearly as long. In many cases I’ve read a fair person may only
need 5-10 minutes in the sun a day to keep their vitamin D levels
about in wintertime? Are we back to taking supplements? We could…BUT I
found something pretty stinking cool – if you take some mushrooms, and
place them in the sun, gills up, for a little while, there will be a TON
of natural Vitamin D in them! All the surface area of their gills gets
covered with Vitamin D. Only mushrooms can do this because they have a
precursor in them that converts to Vitamin D when exposed to UVB rays.
Then you can eat them in the winter (dry them first of course) – we are
planning on doing that this winter. Mushrooms with more gills work best
for this like shiitakes. Here’s the mushrooms and Vitamin D article. And here’s a cool experiment that was done with various mushrooms laid out in the sun and testing the vitamin D levels after. Of note, one result? “The most vitamin D was found in shiitake dried with gills up that were
exposed to sunlight for two days, six hours per day. The vitamin D
levels in these mushrooms soared from 100 IU/100 grams to nearly 46,000
IU/100 grams” AND another point for drying a bunch in summer and saving for the dark months: “Most interesting to me is that when we tested our mushrooms nearly a
year after exposure, they preserved significant amounts of vitamin D2.”
not that I’m against supplements, but I’ve just seen in my own life,
whether it’s taking iron supplements or just eating some red meat, or
something like this, that often the supplements just don’t seem to
really absorb or do the job nearly as well in my body as something that’s more “whole” if you will, that was designed to interact with our bodies more naturally. Just my opinion of course!
just throwing this out there if any of you have been feeling depressed
or off mentally like I was but you don’t usually feel that way- this
could be 1 cause.
Hope this helps someone.
If any disagree with getting sun exposure, I did not mean to offend,
just sharing what I’ve experienced and found in my own life. For those
who are concerned about skin cancer, there have been some interesting
studies regarding the connection between sun and skin cancer that are
reviewed here. I
think it’s true you can find proof for whatever it is you want to
believe, so I’m positive there is probably evidence to the contrary of
these studies as well, so of course it’s up to each one of us to do our
own research and then make our own decisions for what’s best for us
individually. I always let you guys know that it’s important to me that I
respect each of you as having the right to decide what you do to your
own bodies, and no one should make you feel bad about that! All I know
is my depression has greatly lifted and at the moment I can thank my God
who made the sun for that! Whewww. 🙂
And if you don’t want to be in the sun, try the mushroom trick! I think that’s so super cool. I don’t know if you can tell, but I tend to super geek-out on this sort of stuff.