Vitamin D Part 1 – Mood. Energy. Immune System.

Vitamin D, mood, depression, anxiety, sunshine

Vitamin D, mood, depression, anxiety, sunshine

Levels of Vitamin D affect your mood, energy, and immune function.

As summer comes to an end so do our days of sunshine and Vitamin D up here in Minnesota. But no longer are the days where bone health is the only focus for vitamin D.

Do you ever feel sad, un-motived, or unable to enjoy the things you love for weeks or months? Depression and mood disorders have many different causes, but one place to look is at your vitamin D, or lack there of.

It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. Rates of deficiency in the US are on the rise. An NHANES study showed that about 40% of Americans have a subclinical deficiency and 30% are deficient. Only about 20% of Americans have sufficient vitamin D levels.

salmon, omega-3, healthy fat, nutritious, vitamin A

The skin is able to convert ultraviolet rays into vitamin D, but we cannot produce enough vitamin D from sunlight at latitudes above 42 degrees N most of the year. Minnesota is at 46 degrees N latitude. I’m sure you can do the math. This is especially important because it is not commonly found in foods. There are 2 forms of vitamin D in our diet – D2 (ergocalciferol) is in plant sources (mushrooms treated with UV, fortified cereals) and D3 (cholecalciferol) from animal products (fatty fish, eggs from chickens fed vitamin D).

Lack of sunlight exposure, over 65 years old, dark skin, certain medications, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and a baby exclusively breastfed without vitamin D supplementation can increase your risk for D deficiency.

Signs your Vitamin D might be low:

  • Depression
  • Throbbing bone pain – symmetric lower back pain, pelvis, legs
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pain with pressure over sternum or tibia
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

How does vitamin D affect my body?Vitamin D, immune, diabetes, lung health, cardiovascular

Vitamin D has a clear association with bone density, but there are numerous other disease processes that are affected by vitamin D. Studies show a relationship between D deficiency and autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Cancer (colon, breast, prostate, and pancreatic), high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders are also linked with D deficiency just to name a few. [2] Part 3 will cover the immune system in more detail.

Does vitamin D affect my mood?

Your mood can also be impacted by your vitamin D status. More research is needed to better understand how, but studies have revealed that low vitamin D levels are more prominent in those with depression. [3]

Another study showed an improvement in scores on the Becks Depression Inventory II, 3 months after high dose vitamin D treatment compared to those without vitamin D treatment. [4] This indicates that vitamin D can be helpful for those with depression.

Those suffering from fibromyalgia often have symptoms of anxiety and depression. One study looked at vitamin D levels in those with fibromyalgia and how it is connected to depression and anxiety. They found that patients with vitamin D deficiency scored higher on Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS). However, they did not notice a relationship between vitamin D status and musculoskeletal symptoms of the disease. [5] So while vitamin D may not reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia, it can improve your mood.

Therapy, mental health, homeopathy, depression


Mood disorders and vitamin D were reviewed by the Journal of Midwifery Womens Health. They found that premenstrual syndrome (PMS), seasonal affective disorder, non-specified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder in women were associated with low levels of vitamin D in various studies. [6] Researchers looked at 6 women with low levels of vitamin D. They were evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after vitamin D supplementation. Their levels of vitamin D increased while their BDI scores decreased significantly by an average of 10 points. While this was a small population, it showed that vitamin D can reduce symptoms of depression in females with low vitamin D levels.


There seems to be a clear association between vitamin D and mood disorders, especially in those who are deficient. When was the last time your vitamin D was tested? I frequently recommend a simple blood test for patients to evaluate their vitamin D status.  This is important to establish a safe dosage of vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat soluble; therefore high doses are not needed long-term and can become harmful if taken too long. There are many health benefits to take vitamin D, but it is important to consult with a qualified health professional whenever beginning a new supplement regimen.


Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

As a Naturopathic Doctor in the Twin Cities (Edina and Woodbury), I frequently test blood levels of Vitamin D. Call or schedule online if you are interested in testing your vitamin D levels and to better understand an appropriate protocol for your health.




  1. Priemel M., von Domarus C., Klatte T.O., et al:  Bone mineralization defects and vitamin D deficiency: histomorphometric analysis of iliac crest bone biopsies and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 675 patients.  Journal of Bone and Mineral Research305-312.2010;
  2. Cianferotti, L., Marcocci C.: Subclinical Vitamin D Deficiency. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. V 26, issue 4. 2012.
  3. Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis.
Anglin RE – Br J Psychiatry – 01-FEB-2013; 202: 100-7
  4. The effect of 2 different single injections of high dose of vitamin D on improving the depression in depressed patients with vitamin D deficiency: a randomized clinical trial.
Mozaffari-Khosravi H – J Clin Psychopharmacol – 01-JUN-2013; 33(3): 378-85
  5. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.
Armstrong DJ – Clin Rheumatol – 01-APR-2007; 26(4): 551-4
  6. Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review.
Murphy PK – J Midwifery Womens Health – 01-SEP-2008; 53(5): 440-6

Four Aspects of Health Enhanced by Pets

Kids, healthy, allergies, asthma

Dr. Rebecca Amstutz is an experienced Certified Animal Chiropractor at Perpetual Motion throughout the Twin Cities. This article was written by Dr. Amstutz for all the pet lovers out there. 

The majority – almost 70% – of households in the United States own at least one pet. And most pet owners don’t need to be told that animals make them feel good. In fact pets can make us healthy and help us stay that way. You might be surprised at how many ways pet ownership can impact your health.

Numerous studies provide evidence that pets favorably impact our emotional and physical health, diminish the effect of chronic illnesses and enhance quality of life.

  1. Emotional Health Enhanced by Pets

Dogs, health, mental health, depression, anxietyPets are natural mood enhancers. When you spend time with a cat or dog or watch fish swim, your body actually experiences physical changes that impact your mood. Serotonin, a chemical related to well-being, increases and cortisol, a hormone associated with stress decreases.

No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet. Petting an animal has a calming effect, so therapists have been known to recommend interacting with animals as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression.

Pet owners have a tendency to want to talk with other pet owners. Staying engaged with others is key to a healthy mind. Have you noticed that a dog within view is a conversation waiting to happen? Dog people will naturally stop and talk with other dog owners.

Animals in homes of people with Alzheimer’s or AIDS not only help the patients feel less depressed and have fewer anxious episodes, but the animals also help caregivers feel less burdened.

  1. Physical Health Enhanced by Pets

Blood pressure, hypertensionHaving a pet can help you manage your blood pressure. One study demonstrated that pet owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates than non-pet owners. Another study showed children with hypertension actually lowered their blood pressure by petting a dog.

Dogs and cats are good for your heart. Research has shown the long-term benefits of owning a cat include protection for your heart. Over the 20 years of one study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure.

Kids, healthy, allergies, asthma

Researchers have found that when children grow up in a home with a dog or cat they are less likely to develop allergies. The same is true for kids who live on a farm with large animals. In addition, higher levels of certain immune system chemicals show a stronger immune system, which will help keep them healthy as they get older.

Pet allergies are one of the most common triggers of asthma; however, research has shown that people who lived with cats as infants were less likely to develop asthma as they got older, with one exception: children whose mothers are allergic to cats are three times more likely to develop asthma with early exposure to cats.

Pet owners can diminish osteoporosis and arthritis with their pets. Walking your dog, a weight-bearing exercise that strengthens bones and muscles, helps defend against osteoporosis. Cat owners can mimic their cat’s stretches throughout the day as a reminder to stretch frequently. Coordinate taking medications, stretching and even doctor/veterinary appointments as a way manage both your pet’s and your own arthritis.

Some rehab programs for stroke patients use horses to help with recovery. Often, people who have had strokes start riding with someone walking alongside them as someone else leads the horse. Horseback riding gives stretching exercise, which is especially good if one side has been made weaker. It also helps the person regain balance and build core strength.

  1. Fitness and Diet Health

fitness, exercise, animalPeople who own dogs are less obese and more physically active than people who do not. It is common to walk with your dog, but other forms of exercise can be shared – with mutual benefit. Hold a flashlight or string while you do step aerobics and watch your cat participate. Doga (yoga classes for people and their dogs) are becoming more popular, with regular classes offered at some centers.

  1. Quality of Life

Health, anxiety, wellbeingThere are a number of chronic conditions for which pets are being trained as health aides. For example, some dogs can alert their owner with diabetes of a dangerous drop in blood glucose before the person actually senses the change. Similarly, some dogs are trained to alert their owners prior to the onset of epileptic seizures or to perform specific functions for people with Parkinson’s or physical and mental disabilities.

Humans are benefiting from new research on pet cancers; both dogs and cats can get the same kinds of cancer that humans do. Treatment therapies are customized based on successful outcomes for pets.

Working with and caring for a pet can help children with ADHD. Playing releases excess energy. Pet care responsibilities on a schedule can help the child learn to plan. Also, the unconditional love a pet provides helps the child with ADHD learn about self-esteem.Anxiety, stress, dog

Pets are used with children with autism to help address sensory issues like touch, smell and sound. Children usually find the animals hold their attention, while also providing a sense of calm.

Additionally, pets are enhancing quality of life for patients requiring therapy after a stroke or brain injury and in hospitals and nursing homes.

There you have it. Four ways in which our health is enhanced by pets.


Dr. Rebecca Amstutz, DC, CVSMT has been treating Twin Cities’ pets since 2010. The emphasis at Perpetual Motion Animal Chiropractic is to provide a natural method of overall health and healing for pets. Newborn to senior, small to large, park walker to competitive athlete — her goal is that each pet enjoys a comfortable, healthy and active life.

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