Vitamin D Fights Depression

Photo by Jennifer Hentz Moyer

Photo by Jennifer Hentz Moyer

Over the years, we have been told to beware of the sun but not getting enough can cause many ailments including depression.  Although the best source of vitamin D is the sun, it is not likely that a person can get enough sun to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.  The best way to determine if your vitamin D levels are healthy, is to have your blood level checked.  Supplementing with vitamin D is often necessary.  The article below from talks more about the research and how it can help with depression.

Research shows that Vitamin D fights depression not only in adults but also in children.  As a part-time substitute teacher, I am learning that only elementary students get daily recess.  Maybe we should bring back time outside for all grades.

Just 20 minutes a Day of Exercise for Brain Health


I was always diligent about incorporating exercise in my wellness plan.  When I fractured my ankle back in November 2015, my exercise routine became very limited.  For years, my first choice for exercise has been my mini rebounder/trampoline but I could not use it with a cast so it got set aside.  The year 2016 was a challenging year due to an accident my husband had and then 2017 came with challenges that I mention in my January blog.  So now it is 2018 and thankfully the year has been going well so far.  Recently, I had some time to watch the "Protect you Brain" DVD, produced by CBN in 2017.  I learned only 20 minutes of vigorous exercise daily is all it takes to lower risk for Alzheimer's, stroke, depression and even heart disease.  

So I found myself motivated to resume a daily exercise routine using my favorite way, my mini rebounder/trampoline.  The benefits of jumping are numerous but improved immune system is one of them.  If on a tight budget, an inexpensive jump rope works well too.  Of course, you should always get clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise plan.  The benefits of exercise are documented with much research and I was excited to learn how little time it takes to reap them.  I have been back on my routine for over a week and I can definitely feel a difference in my mood, ability to focus and even lower readings on my blood pressure.

Also worthy to mention is that the University of Alabama at Birmingham did a study on the effects of exercise on depressive symptoms.  The study website link is no longer active but in the past, I wrote a blog on exercise and depression so I am aware that the conclusion of the study was that exercise reduces depressive symptoms in patients with a chronic illness.  The results of the study were that exercise does not just mildly reduce the symptoms but it SIGNIFICANTLY reduces depressive symptoms.  The study reported that exercise training produced the greatest antidepressant effects in patients with mild to moderate depressive symptoms.  Exercise is so important for mental health.  Now learning that the benefits for brain health only takes 20 minutes a day of exercise with the intensity that you break a sweat but are still able to hold a conversation, I believe it is much easier to achieve. 

I know first hand how over the years, exercise helps me in maintaining my health both physically and mentally.  Unfortunately the challenges I faced in recent years made it hard to stick to my routine.  Thankfully, I have a renewed motivation to resume my exercise routine.  I have been reaping the benefits of yoga since April of last year and now I am excited that I have been able to resume my first-love of jumping :)

Let's Not Forget About the Dads!

"Bottle Feeding" by patrisyu

"Bottle Feeding" by patrisyu

Many people are familiar with postpartum depression in women but postpartum depression in men is hardly ever talked about.  A new baby is a wonderful blessing but the demands of parenthood are very stressful and can be overwhelming to both parents.  Mothers and fathers share many of the same stresses.

According to one of the few studies in the area of paternal depression, in general, 14% of American men develop depression either during their partner’s pregnancy or during the first year postpartum. About 8% of fathers in other countries develop paternal depression.  The problem seems to heighten when babies are 3 to 6 months old.  During this time, 25% of new fathers and 42% of mothers report depression.  If a mother experiences postpartum depression, the father is at much greater risk of experiencing depression as well.

Sleep deprivation is a strong contributor to depression.  Research shows that any healthy adult that goes without good sleep for a month, is at increased risk for experiencing depression.  In addition, the hormonal changes that occur after childbirth can cause depression in both women and men.  Women experience a sharp decline in progesterone and estrogen but men also experience a decline in testosterone.

Unfortunately, fathers experiencing depression are less likely to seek help then mothers.  Mainly because, in general, men avoid treatment for mental health.  Also men experiencing depression often have symptoms that are unique from women.  Some of the symptoms of depression in men may include:

  • Increased anger and conflict with others
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Violent behavior
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Being easily stressed
  • Impulsiveness and taking risks, like reckless driving and extramarital sex
  • Feeling discouraged
  • Increases in complaints about physical problems
  • Ongoing physical symptoms, like headaches, digestion problems or pain
  • Problems with concentration and motivation
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies and sex
  • Working constantly
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Misuse of prescription medication
  • Increased concerns about productivity and functioning at school or work
  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing conflict between how you think you should be as a man and how you actually are
  • Thoughts of suicide

Some men may only experience a few symptoms and others may experience many.  What ever the case, it is important to know that the symptoms are treatable and help is available.  For more information see the links below.

Sources and Additional Links:

Postpartum Depression Hits as Many Dads as Moms

Prenatal and Postpartum Depression in Fathers and Its Association With Maternal Depression

Helping Men Beat the Baby Blues and Overcome Depression

Postpartum Depression in Men | Video – ABC News

Postpartum Depression in Men: It’s Real

Postpartum Depression Strikes New Fathers, Too

Resources for Fathers


Information on this web site is for educational purposes only.  It should not substitute for a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed mental health professional.

Depression During Pregnancy

October 28, 2012

Kelly remembers experiencing depression during her first pregnancy.  Although she did not identify what she was experiencing at the time, looking back she realizes that she was depressed during her pregnancy.  She had so many life changes going on that it is no wonder she was overwhelmed.  Kelly got pregnant in August, started a job in September, got married in October and moved in December.  If that was not enough, when she was 7 months pregnant her best friend died unexpectedly.  Kelly new she was experiencing difficulties but she didn’t know she needed help.

Kelly is not alone.  According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), between 14 to 23% of women will struggle with some symptoms of depression during pregnancy.  Because one to four women will experience depression at some time during their lives, it is not surprising that pregnancy can be one of those times.

The American Pregnancy Association is a national health organization committed to promoting reproductive and pregnancy wellness through education, research, advocacy, and community awareness.  The Association states that depression during pregnancy is not properly diagnosed because people think it is just another type of hormonal imbalance.

In the case of Anglena, she had experienced postpartum depression after the birth of her first child but was stable when she got pregnant with her second child.  Anglena had a history of Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder prior to her pregnancies but both seemed to be under control when she was pregnant with her second child.  However, when she was 5 1/2 months pregnant, she began to have difficulty sleeping.  This led to irritability, agitation and guilt.  All of which can be symptoms of depression.  She did not identify them as such and dismissed them as hormonal and pregnancy related.

Thankfully, in Kelly’s and Anglena’s cases, they eventually got help but not until things escalated and got worse after the their babies were born.  It seems that often the symptoms of depression and anxiety during pregnancy are often dismissed as “normal” or related to changes in hormones.  But, in reality, if a pregnant woman is experiencing any of the following symptoms, she should seek professional help, preferably professionals with experiencing treating women experiencing mental health issues related to childbearing.

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping too much
  • Lack of interest
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness, agitation or slowed movement
  • Thoughts or ideas about suicide

So if you are pregnant and experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, please know that there is help available.  You should not feel ashamed or guilty because you are not to blame and you are not alone.


The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or psychological condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider for individual advice regarding your own situation.


American Pregnancy Association: Depression During Pregnancy

March of Dimes: Pregnancy Complications

Depression during and after pregnancy fact sheet

Coping With Depression During Pregnancy

Depression During Pregnancy & Postpartum

Postpartum Support International

Depression in Women

Did you know about 15 million people in the United States experience depression each year?  The majority are women.  The majority do not get the help they need.  Here is a well-written article from WebMD: Depression Effects on Women.

If you are suffering from depression, do not suffer in silence.  You are not alone, things will get better with proper care and treatment and you are not to blame for what you are experiencing.