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Mood: Vitamin D and omega-3 increase serotonin levels

While omega-3s and vitamin D have been suggested to help treat mental illness, the exact mechanisms by which they work are not clearly understood. A new study provides insight into their mood-boosting effects. The findings were published in the journal FASEB.

Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids regulate serotonin

Low serotonin levels are implicated in several mental illnesses, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia. Even various aspects of behavior such as decision-making and impulsivity are linked to this vital neurotransmitter. In this two-part study, scientists from California sought to determine the role of omega-3 and vitamin D in serotonin synthesis.

EPA helps release serotonin from neurons by reducing inflammatory compounds called E2 prostaglandins. Inflammation blocks the release of serotonin.

DHA increases the fluidity of brain cell membranes, allowing serotonin to reach receptors more easily.

Vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophane - an amino acid - into serotonin. This combination protects against mental illness by increasing serotonin levels.

The result

Europeans are greatly increasing their consumption of psychiatric drugs, whose side effects range from dry mouth, insomnia, and weight gain to blurred vision. Vitamin D and omega-3, on the other hand, support mental health without causing serious side effects.

For mental health, therapeutic doses for fish oil range from 2 to 4 grams, with higher doses of 6 to 10 grams effective for conditions such as bipolar disorder.

To maintain optimal vitamin D blood levels, between 8,000 and 15,000 IU of vitamin D should be taken daily in the form of tablets/capsules/drops. The appropriate daily vitamin D dosage depends on body weight:

from 45 kilogram body weight: 8.000

from 65 kilograms body weight: 10,000

from 90 kilograms body weight: 12.000

from 120 kilograms body weight: 15.000

Once a year, blood testing should ensure that the desired level is achieved. A 4-week break in vitamin D intake lowers vitamin D levels by 20-30 ng/ml, and a single 200,000 IU intake raises vitamin D levels by 20-30 ng/ml.

More information can be found in this book in German.

Buch: Depressionen selbst behandeln

References 1. Available at: Retrieved on 15. Mai 2015. 2. FASEB J. 24. Februar 2015. pii: fj.14-268342. 3. Current opinion Pediatr. 1996 Aug;8(4):348-54.


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