When it comes to nutrition and mental health, one nutrient stands out and warrants an in-depth look. That nutrient is vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption and utilization of several other nutrients needed for overall health and mental stability. It also supports a healthy sleep cycle, which is crucial for cognitive function and mood.
It's the only vitamin that is also a hormone — a hormone needed for the proper formation and utilization of other hormones.
It’s no secret that the road to mental well-being can be pricey. The first article in this series “Nutrition and Mental Health: Where to Begin” described several small changes a person can make at little or no cost.
Then the second article “Nutrition and Mental Health: Benefits of Supplements” discussed inexpensive supplements that can give a person a boost needed to further their progress. When it comes to spending out-of-pocket money on this endeavor, a vitamin D test is both a great and inexpensive investment in your health.
Your vitamin D levels can give both you and your health care practitioners incredible insight. This test looks at 25-hydroxy vitamin D, which is science-speak for vitamin D in the form the body can utilize it.
Values are in ng/dL, which is nanograms per deciliter. That is the number of units of vitamin D in a certain amount of your blood. Standard tests may show a value of 20-30 ng/dL to be the lower cut off for "normal," but more and more practitioners view 50 ng/dL or more to be optimal for health.