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Winter Depression Probably Caused By Reduced Sunlight And Vitamin D

December 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with a host of health issues, but a new study finds a link with certain mental health problems, too. U.S. and Australian researchers reviewed more than 100 scientific articles, finding an association between vitamin D deficiency and seasonal depression, sometimes called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People with SAD show the same symptoms year after year, beginning in the fall and continuing through winter. The researchers are convinced by their findings that reduced sunlight – which produces vitamin D in the body – during the winter months probably contributes to SAD. Low vitamin D levels reduce the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to depression.
Alan E. Stewart et al., "Possible contributions of skin pigmentation and vitamin D in a polyfactorial model of seasonal affective disorder. ", Medical Hypotheses, December 02, 2014, © Elsevier Ltd.
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