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A new study published this month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that insufficient levels of vitamin D may contribute to higher rates of depression among older adults. More than 900 men and women age 65 or older participated in the six-year study, and results indicated that those with vitamin D insufficiency experienced increased depressive symptoms over time.
The human body produces vitamin D as a result of exposure to sunlight, but it can also be obtained by eating certain foods—including foods and supplements fortified with the nutrient. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is necessary for healthy bones, skin and teeth, but further evidence reveals that vitamin D helps to increase levels of serotonin in the body. As a result, it may help improve mood and prevent the onset of depression.
According to experts, vitamin D insufficiency is common among seniors, so daily supplementation may help provide beneficial mood support. Because fish-derived Omega-3 fats have also been linked to improved mood, a natural daily Omega-3 supplement that includes added vitamin D may be an ideal choice. Omega-3 essential fatty acids such as EPA and DHA have also been shown to promote healthy heart, brain, digestive and immune function.