bright sun shining, sunlight, sunlight boost, boost your mood

Vitamin D, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, is renowned for its contribution to bone strength. It may also help ward off lung infections, particularly among people who are especially susceptible. You may not have heard, however, that vitamin D might be able to help boost your mood. That’s the experience one reader reported.

Vitamin D to Boost Your Mood:

Q. During a very cold winter, I began to feel more SAD than usual, as well as fuzzy, forgetful and achy. This worried me enough to send me to the doctor.

All my blood tests were fine except for my vitamin D, which was very low. Some high-dose supplements eventually caught me up, but apparently my ordinary multivitamin hadn’t been working.

Now I am reading that low vitamin D has been linked to breast cancer, immune problems and other conditions as well as seasonal affective disorder. If I couldn’t get enough sun exposure to make vitamin D where I live below the Mason-Dixon line, what about people in the north? Can older people who don’t go outside get enough vitamin D?

How Can You Get Enough Vitamin D?

A. Research links low circulating levels of vitamin D to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression (Psychiatry Research, May 30, 2015; PLoS One, Sept. 23, 2015). Certainly, that doesn’t prove that supplements will boost your mood. On the other hand, you should try to avoid very low levels of this vitamin. Ask your doctor to monitor your blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with conditions such as cancer, hypertension, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and multiple sclerosis (Nutrition Journal, Dec. 8, 2010). Older people with inadequate vitamin D levels may have less hand strength and walk more slowly (PLoS One, Aug. 21, 2018). One study found that people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to experience anxiety and non-cardiac chest pain (Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, online Aug. 27. 2018).

You are correct that people in northern states may have difficulty getting enough vitamin D. In fact, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 29 percent of Americans were deficient in vitamin D and another 41 percent had low levels (British Journal of Nutrition, April 28, 2018).

Learn More:

Finally, you can learn more about optimal vitamin D levels to boost your mood and your bone strength, as well as vitamin supplements in our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Robin
    Charlotte NC

    I’ve been taking 5,000 IU of Vit D for several years. A friend told me that he was taking 10,000 IU in a liquid form and he hasn’t had a migraine headache for over a year. I thought I would see if it would help a type of psoriasis I have on my hands and feet. Initially, it did help but not for long. What I did notice after about 1 month, all my neck, back and knee pain was gone and it has been over 3 months and I have been pain free. I am also sleeping better. I am a 70 year old woman in good health. I’ve told all my friends and the ones who tried it, most have seen some kind of improvement.

  2. Maryann

    I didn’t understand why I was losing hair (I am female) but after a year of taking Vit D supplements I noticed that the loss has stopped and some new hairs are coming back in. Happy days!

  3. JP

    Eleven years ago, based on a number of my symptoms, my internist ran screening tests–one of which showed an undetectable level of Vitamin D. I was told to take 5,000 units of vitamin D but after a month my level was barely detectable. I was then put on 10,000 units which eventually brought the level to 25. (30-100 is the normal range)

    I’ve been on 2,000 units daily ever since, and levels remain low. My last test was 30 ng/mL. Of all U.S. cities above 50,000 population, Bellingham WA has the fewest number of sunny days, but I’m not convinced that supplements are really that helpful

  4. Sally M

    I would like to add, that from my experience, taking a Vitamin D supplement every day, has kept me from having major colds and/or the flu. I’ve not had a flu shot for over 10 years, and since taking Vit D, I haven’t had a “bad” cold for the past three years. I’m not making a recommendation about flu shots for anyone else, but I believe that Vit D will prevent flu just as well, if not much more, than the shot.
    Those living in northern & midwestern states cannot get enough Vit D through exposure to the sun, and with most people covering up and wearing sunscreen most of the time, it compounds the problem. So Vitamin D supplementation is mandatory.

  5. Catherine

    You say: “Is renowned for its contribution to bone strength.” Really? In a separate posting you note that this has not proven to be true – yet you start this post with that sentence. Somewhat confusing – and considering your subject matter, confusion is not ideal.

  6. Sharon
    Everett, WA

    When my doctor put me on a vitamin D supplement I notice that my mood did improve a great deal, so much that I no longer needed Zoloft.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.