It can be difficult to determine what’s triggering the depression you’ve been noticing in your mother. It could be the loss of a loved one, a health issue or a number of other things.
Your first stop for an older adult who is noticing any change in mood or symptoms should be the doctor’s office. A thorough examination and discussion with the doctor should help determine the cause of depression and the best treatment plan, whether it’s medication or counseling.
One factor that has been found to lead to depression in older adults could be low levels or a deficiency in Vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin is naturally present in some foods and is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are good sources of vitamin D and it is also available as a dietary supplement.
Symptoms of depression in about 13 percent of older individuals have been linked to vitamin D deficiency, according to an issue of according to an issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Vitamin D levels in blood were 14 percent lower in individuals with major and minor depression compared with non-depressed participants, according to the study.
The risks of low Vitamin D levels
Vitamin D deficiency could even turn deadly, according to research. In June 2008, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that low blood levels of Vitamin D were associated with a doubled risk of death overall and from cardiovascular causes in women and men (average age 62) referred to a cardiac center for coronary angiography causes.
Vitamin D appears to have some preventative benefits as well. An interesting study from the could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes by a whopping 43 percent.
Researchers looked at 28 studies including 99,745 men and women across a variety of ethnic groups. These studies revealed a significant association between high levels of vitamin D and a decreased risk of developing three disorders:
• Cardiovascular Disease (33 percent compared to low levels of vitamin D)
• Type 3 diabetes (55 percent reduction)
• Metabolic Syndrome (51 percent)
Support for seniors to increase Vitamin D levels and overall health
Luckily, there are easy, non-pharmaceutical ways to increase Vitamin D level, such as . Eating fatty fish and seafood, which are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D, as well as fortified foods, like yogurts and cereals and taking a vitamin supplement also could help.
Support at home could help aging adults focus more on their health and well-being.
Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.