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Everyone’s had days when they’ve been in a bad mood, an eventuality that can make it tough to be productive or pleasant. Although the condition often clears up on its own, some people struggle with low mood for days or weeks, whether because of stress, grief, mental illness, or a combination of factors. To combat this problem, people tend to look for products that can make them feel better in short order; for issues related to mood, many look to dietary interventions, especially those based on vitamins, minerals, or herbs. Chief among these treatments is the use of vitamin D, which has been linked to mood, but the question of its efficacy remains. So, can vitamin D improve your mood? To find out, keep reading as the team at ENU – makers of meal replacement shakes – cover this topic in depth.
How Vitamin D Can Affect Your Mood
As one of the many compounds that support healthy bodily functions, vitamin D is an essential part of maintaining your overall physical and mental well-being. This vitamin, which is often added to milk and cereal, is one that many people don’t get enough of, and as with any vitamin deficiency, losing out on vitamin D can lead to problems.
One of the most notable issues that arise in cases of vitamin D deficiency is low mood, which can manifest itself to a greater or lesser degree depending on how little of this nutrient a person gets and how long the deficiency is maintained. At its worst, a lack of vitamin D has been linked to major depression, so much so that studies have examined the association and found that adding vitamin D to the diet of someone with this illness helped to improve their mood. However, not everyone who experiences low mood has a mental illness or a vitamin D deficiency; can these individuals benefit from more vitamin D in their lives?
In essence, the question of whether vitamin D can improve your mood will depend on whether you have a deficiency or not. As with many vitamins, those who already get adequate amounts of vitamin D each day shouldn’t expect much of a boost when supplementing with this nutrient, while those who are lacking in this vitamin may be able to lift their spirits by adding it to their diet or getting it in other ways, as the additional vitamin D will treat the deficiency – the cause of their low mood. But if you’re grumpy because you didn’t get enough sleep, have low blood sugar, or are under a lot of stress, don’t expect vitamin D to magically make you feel better.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need to Improve Your Mood?
Given that a lack of vitamin D can worsen a person’s mood, it makes sense to ask how much you need to avoid this problem. Although the amount of vitamin D that a person needs each day will depend on a few factors unique to the individual, the range of recommended daily intakes is actually pretty narrow. Check out the experts’ recommendations below, measured in international units (IU):
- Infants – 400 IU
- Ages 1 to 18 – 600 IU
- Ages 18 to 70 – 600 IU
- Ages 70 and up – 800 IU
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding – 600 IU
If this sounds like a lot of vitamin D, it’s not. Most people don’t need to put in any special effort to meet their daily requirements, though things can get more difficult in the winter or for those in certain demographics. Even if you’re lacking in vitamin D and want to take more to improve your mood, keep in mind that taking too much can be harmful, too; you could develop a headache, nausea, dry mouth, or a persistent metallic taste if you overdo it with the vitamin D supplements, so be sure to stay under the 4,000 IU maximum recommended by medical professionals.
How to Increase Vitamin D Levels and Improve Your Mood
Ultimately, you should leave it up to your doctor to determine whether a vitamin D deficiency is the cause of your low mood, but if they do, know that you have a number of potential sources of this key compound at your disposal, starting with the biggest (and hottest) one: the sun. By simply exposing your skin to about 10 minutes of sunlight a few times a week, you’ll trigger the production of vitamin D in the body and, in all likelihood, get enough to improve your mood.
That said, adequate exposure to sunlight is much harder to come by in the winter, and those with darker skin tones tend to get less vitamin D from sunlight than those with lighter skin. In addition, those who live in cities – where buildings can reduce the amount of light available and pollution can limit the effectiveness of sunlight – may get less vitamin D, too. If necessary, you can add vitamin D to your diet in the form of fish, dairy products, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified juices, and it’s worth considering a comprehensive nutritional supplement like an ENU nutrition shake, which offers 30% of your daily value of vitamin D along with 23 other vitamins and minerals, 17 grams of protein, heart-healthy fats, and complex carbs.
Get More Vitamin D Each Day with ENU Meal Replacement Shakes
There are plenty of reasons why a person might find themselves with a low mood due to a vitamin D deficiency, but luckily, addressing the problem isn’t too tough. Just add a healthy source of vitamin D to your routine, such as an ENU low-sodium meal replacement shake, and you can restore your body’s vitamin D levels and improve your mood. Learn more about the benefits of all our products, including our nutritional powders, by visiting ENU online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.