Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Dr. David Brownstein, M.D.

Low Vitamin D and Depression

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 12:49 PM

By Dr. Brownstein

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Question: Can you tell me if there is a connection between vitamin D levels and depression and panic disorder?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

A report in the January 21, 2013, issue of the Journal Clinical Nutrition examined the link
between low vitamin D levels and the risk of developing depression and panic disorder.

The study analyzed 18,558 British people born in March 1958. At age 45, the subjects’ blood samples were analyzed for vitamin D levels. The participants were also interviewed for evidence of common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias.

The researchers found an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and depression and panic disorders. At age 45, a vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) was associated with a 43 percent lower risk of depression and a 67 percent lower risk of panic attacks.

“This study provides support for an association of low [vitamin D levels] and subsequent risk of depression in mid-adulthood,” wrote the scientists.

I have been checking vitamin D levels in my patients for nearly 20 years. I can assure you that the vast majority of patients test low.

Human beings are designed to manufacture vitamin D from sun exposure. I have seen countless patients come to me fatigued and achy who improved their condition with sun exposure.

Don’t get me wrong: You shouldn’t allow the sun to burn your skin. However, moderate sun exposure is less harmful than hiding away from the sun.

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