Benefits of the Sun for depression

Nobody in the Scottsdale area can have an excuse to not get some daily sunshine for a potent bump in their mood. Clearly if you

have had skin cancer or are at high risk for skin cancer, then I reccomend you speak to your dermatologist before doing any basking.  However in reality, the benefits of the sun for depression only takes 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight for your eyes and skin will really help with depression.  So what exactly are the benefits of sun for depression?

Sun is the bodies primary source for production of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for many crucial functions in the body including proper bone health, cognition and mood.  When the sun hits your skin, vitamin D creation is started. A complex process where several parts of the body are needed to ultimately produce useable vitamin D including your kidneys and skin.  Vitamin D helps elevate your mood, both if you are severely depressed or mildly depressed. The effects have been comparable to anti-depressant drugs in the few studies that have been conducted.  This benefit of the sun for depression is probably the most underutilized “anti-depressant” in practice today-it is free, easy and EFFECTIVE!

Clearly the side-effects are pretty minimal compared to psychiatric medications and the benefits of the sun for depression can have an immediate impact in boosting your bood. Sun for depression is what I reccomend to all of my patients as long as they clear it with their dermatologist. Especially older women who require vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.

Sometimes the most simple things can be more useful than the more time-consuming or expensive options. Psychotherapy and medications are a crucial part of treatment for many but do not underestimate utilizing the sun as well as cardiovascular excercise and a diet high in fruits and vegetables.  I will discuss the role of excercise in keeping your mood high in an upcoming blog post!

Next time you feel down in the dumps just remember all of the benefits of the sun for depression and go outside!