Almost everyone has days where they feel a little down or “under the weather”. This is especially common during the cold, winter months when people have less chance to get outdoors into the warm sunlight. Is there a natural way to improve mood during those dark when you feel a little down? Some recent studies show that two common vitamins could act as natural mood boosters.
Vitamin C for Depression
According to a new study published in the journal Nutrition, vitamin C levels affect the mood of hospitalized patients. When researchers gave patients in the hospital vitamin C and vitamin D supplements, vitamin C supplements boosted their mood scores by 34%.
Vitamin D supplements didn’t have the same effect, but it’s difficult to draw conclusions, because it takes a longer period of time to boost vitamin D levels than it does vitamin C. Both vitamin D and vitamin C levels are commonly low in hospitalized patients.
Does Vitamin D Improve Mood?
Although hospital patients in this study didn’t experience improvement in their mood when they took vitamin D supplements, other research shows low vitamin D is associated with depression and mood disturbances. In one study involving older adults, not only did low vitamin D levels depress mood, but low levels of vitamin D also reduced thinking skills.
Since the best source of vitamin D is natural sunlight, low vitamin D levels could explain why some people experience seasonal mood disorders during the winter months when they’re light deprived. Decreased vitamin D levels have been associated with premenstrual syndrome, major depression, and seasonal affective disorder – all conditions which lead to “the blues”. Vitamin D deficiency is so common that up to a billion people worldwide are deficient in this vitamin. Would the world be a cheerier place if people got more vitamin D?
Vitamins That Improve Your Mood: The Bottom Line
It’s not clear whether vitamin C and vitamin D improves mood in people who aren’t deficient in these vitamins. More studies are needed to look at this issue – as well as what optimal levels of both vitamins are for maximizing mood.
Until then, have your doctor check a vitamin D level if you’re feeling a little down – or if you have a history of depression. Meanwhile, add more vitamin C and vitamin D – rich mood boosting foods to your diet.
Some of the best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, cauliflower, kiwi, and broccoli. Unfortunately, there are few good food sources of vitamin D, but salmon, tuna, shrimp, and fortified milk have fair amounts. If your levels of vitamin D are low after testing, ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D and Mood Disorders Among Women: An Integrative Review
Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Dec;14(12):1032-40.
Nutraingredients.com. ‘Vitamin C may improve mood: Study”