Health QUT says lack of sunlight is linked to mental illness

QUT says lack of sunlight is linked to mental illness

Researchers at Queensland University of Technology have found a link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression. Vitamin D deficiency affects many Australians and has harmful effects on physical health. However, recent research from QUT has also linked the condition to mental illness, specifically seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Vitamin D deficiency affects many Australians and has harmful effects on physical health. However, recent research from QUT has also linked the condition to mental illness, specifically seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is believed to affect up to 10 per cent of the population. It’s a type of depression related to the changes in season and higher instances of SAD are typically diagnosed in autumn and winter.

Vitamin D levels fluctuate in the body seasonally, depending on the sunlight available. The vitamin also plays a role in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, chemicals that are related to depression.

The research also cited findings that people with dark skin often record lower levels of vitamin D, suggesting people with greater skin pigmentation may be at greater risk of mental illness as well as vitamin D deficiency.  Lead researcher Michael Kimlin said maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D should be a priority for Australians in both physical and mental health. “A few minutes of sunlight exposure each day should be enough for most people to maintain an adequate vitamin D status,” he said.

 

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