Winter months can be difficult for those experiencing a mental health challenge or illness, especially during and following the holiday season. There are, however, a myriad of evidence-based ways to boost your physical and mental well-being. One important tool is vitamin D. Research clearly shows the benefits of this powerful vitamin for improving body and thereby brain health. Our bodies synthesize this nutrient through exposure to the sun. However, during reduced daylight months we are unable to get what we need from our solar source. Because low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, it may be beneficial to add vitamin D through your diet, light therapy, or a supplement. If taking a supplement, choose the “D3”version and consume with a fatty meal. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a nutritional supplement program. If low mood persists, contact your healthcare provider or local CMHA for additional information and resources.
Sean Miller, Canadian Mental Health Association, mbwpg.cmha.ca