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Winter Blues: Vitamin D & Sunlight Needed to Make Serotonin

Winter Blues: Vitamin D & Sunlight Needed to Make Serotonin

Without enough vitamin D, we are unable to synthesize serotonin.

Serotonin regulates our mood, whether we have positive or negative thoughts, inner rest and confidence, appetite, sleep, cognitive functions like memory and learning!

It’s a neurotransmitter that’s vital for many brain functions including regulating dopamine levels, which plays a role in reward-mediated behavior.

Did you know that we need Vitamin D to make serotonin?

Vitamin D is needed to support the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. So being outdoors in the sunlight allows our bodies to make our own vitamin D.

Sunlight (via the retina of the eye) also affects our pineal gland’s ability to produce serotonin. When it becomes dark outside, we use a certain amount of serotonin to make melatonin that is highly important for healthy sleep cycle and circadian rhythms.

Serotonin is not just found in us humans, but serotonin is found in other animals and even insects. Plants also have their own version of serotonin.

Most of us are familiar with serotonin being a neurotransmitter associated with elevated mood. But serotonin mediates the perceptions of resources — abundance or scarcity.

So the level of serotonin people have at their disposal can elevate or lower their mood. In complex animals, like humans and other vertebrates, resources can also mean social dominance.

So, even when the days are short and the temperature is cold, it’s important to get outside and get some sun. If your Vitamin D blood levels are low, you might consider taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.

Other nutrients like Omega-3-fatty acids are also important in serotonin synthesis. Read on for more info.

 

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