Vitamin D deficiency can be dangerous. Today, an estimated one billion people live with a vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. Those who’re at high risk for deficiency, often, live far from the earth’s equator. That said, a general lack of sunlight can result in a vitamin D deficiency. Addiction treatment centres have studied the impact of vitamin deficiency in the past, focusing on recovery approaches for those who may not be capable of getting enough sunlight.
Is a vitamin D deficiency dangerous in other ways? Some experts believe a vitamin D deficiency may, in fact, inhibit the addiction recovery process. Moreover, it may promote addictive behaviour.
To understand how a deficiency may trigger addiction, we need to pin down vitamin D’s positive impacts on the body. Your body’s vitamin D receptors, located in the heart, brain, muscles and immune system, can only function when adequate amounts of vitamin D are present.
Additionally, vitamin D is the only hormone vitamin. Once consumed, or absorbed from the sun, vitamin D is converted to its active hormone form. It helps the body absorb calcium, repair teeth, restore muscle tissue and absorb calcium.
Calcium absorption isn’t vitamin D’s only role, either. The vitamin, when consumed or absorbed from the sunshine, activates immune-system-regulating genes. These genes release serotonin and dopamine, which impact brain development and function. In some patients, brain cell regions responsible for depression can be positively impacted by vitamin D.
Mood Disorders and Addiction
Many people per year suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder—which is a mood disorder highlighted by depressive symptoms. Unlike other depressive disorders, Seasonal Affective Disorder mostly impacts individuals during the year’s dark months, when vitamin D isn’t available. Seasonal Affective Disorder may, in fact, be directly caused by the brain’s serotonin levels impacted by vitamin D3 deficiencies.
For this reason, patients suffering from mood disorders are frequently prescribed vitamin D. While small, the vitamin is incredibly important to the brain’s recovery process. A lack of it, meanwhile, may trigger anxiety, depression and even addiction. Low vitamin D counts can, indeed, create a mindset where addiction is thrived upon. Most drugs serve to increase one’s dopamine levels. Vitamin D, studies reveal, may have positive neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic pathways. In essence: Drug abuse and addiction recovery can be assisted by vitamin D supplementation.
Will Lack of Sun Cause Addiction?
While lacking vitamin D levels can, indeed, strengthen addictive tendencies, few studies link low vitamin D counts with direct addiction. That said, the mental processes stemming from vitamin D deficiency can certainly increase one’s chances of addiction. Addiction treatment centres constantly promote rest, a healthy diet and plenty of sunlight. Vitamin D supplements in pill form can also be part of the recovery process.
An addictions recovery center, however, is limited by the patient’s lifestyle. If you or a loved one stay inside often, live in a northern state or are naturally deficient in vitamin D, be wary. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be incredibly dangerous, and it’s responsible for a sizeable percentage of annual depression occurrences.
How Much Vitamin D is Healthy?
Talk to your medical provider, and consider supplementing vitamin D3. A vitamin D deficiency can surprise many, and it’s often not considered until it’s too late. Vitamin D, itself, is a neurosteroid due to its properties. It can, however, similarly be toxic if consumed in large amounts.
In many deficient patients, a 5,000 IU dose of vitamin D is recommended. In critically deficient patients, however, doses as high as 10,000 IU can be taken. Overconsumption of vitamin D, however, may lead to difficulties. It’s important to consume vitamin K, too, to promote healthy cognitive function and bone growth.
Check out your local grocery store, and try the recommended dosage of vitamin D stated on a purchased bottle. If you feel noticeably different, contact your provider. Additionally, if you or a loved one struggle with addiction during cold months, discuss recovery options with your provider. Over-the-counter vitamins may be used during recovery, but they shouldn’t be relied on as a form of self-medication. If dosed incorrectly, over-the-counter vitamins can create negative outcomes. Check your vitamin levels regularly, ask your physician about vitamin supplementation and get as much sunlight as possible.