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Vitamin D deficiency. Depression, hair loss and Omega - 3
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Vitamin D deficiency. Depression, hair loss and Omega - 3

Vitamin D is THE mood enhancer amongst vitamins. It not only is a present from the sun and freely available for anyone, but also fuels our body cells due to its functions as a vitamin and hormone. It contributes to key functions of the body and thus becomes increasingly popular in scientific studies. Also in family practices and private households it gains more and more recognition. Many already refer to it as ‘the wonder vitamin’ due to its healing effects. In spite of its publicity and vital use to the body, only few people manage to fulfil the recommendations. According to the German Robert-Koch-Institute, 60 % of the population have too low vitamin-D levels. (1) Sufficient supply of vitamin D, however, is an important preventive health measure as the consequences of vitamin D-deficiency can be severe. Therefore, you should already correct a possible undersupply at an early stage.

Vitamin D and depression: Depressions are one of the most frequent mental illnesses. In the world, more than 300 million people in each age group are affected and the number of new cases increases yearly.

A depression differs from normal mood fluctuations and transient emotional reactions to daily challenges. Especially if they are prolonged and of average to strong intensity, depressions can become a severe risk to human health. (2) For therapy, antidepressants are often prescribed which are expensive and can cause side-effects. (3) Studies have now proven the correlation between low vitamin D-levels and depression. People suffering from depression had by far lower vitamin D blood values that healthy people. (4,5)

An enormous health problem could be improved by a correctly adjusted vitamin D-supplementation - which is cost-effective and above all without side-effects. Unfortunately, at present there are too few comparable studies to give a generalized recommendation on the nature and quantity of the preparations. But a majority of the studies indicates the effectiveness of vitamin D-preparations for reducing depressive symptoms. (6)

Vitamin D and hair loss: Hair loss is an issue in both men and women. People concerned have already tested different solutions from household remedies up to preparations with promising results. But are they addressing the problem at its source? The thinning of hair as well as female diffuse hair loss is a frequent and challenging problem for dermatologists as the reasons for hair loss are diverse. One reason can be the lack of several nutrients which has a negative effect on the health of the hair root and thus on hair growth. (7) Scientific investigations have shown that vitamin D plays a major role in hair follicles’ life cycle and is hence participating in active hair growth. (8)

The effects of vitamin D on hair growth: As a hormone, vitamin D promotes the production of receptors in the hair roots which stimulate growth. Hence, premature greying and hair loss can be reduced and sleeping roots can be put in operation. Summary: An optimal vitamin D-level and sufficient supply of B-vitamins and minerals can reduce hair loss and can stimulate new growth of hair roots.

Vitamin D and omega-3: The health advantages of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are attracting increased attention in medical literature as well as in popular scientific publications. The sales of fish oil products expands and numerous foods are omega-3 enriched. (9) The current regulations of the American Heart Association recommend eating fatty sea fish twice a week as prevention of cardiovascular diseases and to take up 1,000 mg omega-3 in the form of fish oil preparations. (10)

Studies also revealed a correlation between vitamin D-deficiency and cardiovascular diseases. Study participants with a vitamin D-deficiency value of less than 15 ng/ml have a 50 % higher risk of suffering a heart attack than study participants with an adequate level (> 30 ng/ml). (11)

Data resulting from studies, observational studies and / or secondary prevention studies indicate that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular diseases. A large-scale study analysed the effect of vitamin D on chronic diseases and cancer. The objective is to determine an optimal vitamin D-dosage which has a preventive effect.The results are still pending. (12)

Summary: According to current studies, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids influence the risk to develop cardiovascular diseases or cancer. A vitamin D-value of less than 30 ng/ml should thus be avoided.

References and studies:

1. Vitamin D – der aktuelle D-A-CH-Referenzwert aus Sicht der Risikobewertung, http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/343/vitamin-d-der-aktuelle-d-a-ch-referenzwert-aus-sicht-der-risikobewertung.pdf

2. WHO | Depression, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

3. Health-at-a-Glance-2013.pdf, https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Health-at-a-Glance-2013.pdf

4. Wilkins, C.H., Sheline, Y.I., Roe, C.M., Birge, S.J., Morris, J.C.: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low mood and worse cognitive performance in older adults. Am. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry Off. J. Am. Assoc. Geriatr. Psychiatry. 14, 1032–1040 (2006). doi:10.1097/01.JGP.0000240986.74642.7c

5. Armstrong, D.J., Meenagh, G.K., Bickle, I., Lee, A.S.H., Curran, E.-S., Finch, M.B.: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clin. Rheumatol. 26, 551–554 (2007). doi:10.1007/s10067-006-0348-5

6. Spedding, S.: Vitamin D and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing studies with and without biological flaws. Nutrients. 6, 1501–1518 (2014). doi:10.3390/nu6041501

7. Rasheed, H., Mahgoub, D., Hegazy, R., El-Komy, M., Abdel Hay, R., Hamid, M.A., Hamdy, E.: Serum Ferritin and Vitamin D in Female Hair Loss: Do They Play a Role? Skin Pharmacol. Physiol. 26, 101–107 (2013). doi:10.1159/000346698

8. Demay, M.B.: The hair cycle and Vitamin D receptor. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 523, 19–21 (2012). doi:10.1016/j.abb.2011.10.002

9. Lavie, C.J., Milani, R.V., Mehra, M.R., Ventura, H.O.: Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Diseases. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 54, 585–594 (2009). doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2009.02.084

10. Kris-Etherton, P.M., Harris, W.S., Appel, L.J., AHA Nutrition Committee. American Heart Association: Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: new recommendations from the American Heart Association. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 23, 151–152 (2003)

11. Marai, I., Massalha, S.: Effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D on cardiovascular diseases. Isr. Med. Assoc. J. IMAJ. 16, 117–121 (2014)

12. Manson, J.E., Bassuk, S.S., Lee, I.-M., Cook, N.R., Albert, M.A., Gordon, D., Zaharris, E., MacFadyen, J.G., Danielson, E., Lin, J., Zhang, S.M., Buring, J.E.: The VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL): Rationale and design of a large randomized controlled trial of vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid supplements for the primary prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Contemp. Clin. Trials. 33, 159–171 (2012). doi:10.1016/j.cct.2011.09.009

This website has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 666852. Supported by SME Instrument
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