WebMD’s alert for today was titled, “Is depression rocking your marriage?”
What followed were three pages of reasons why depression causes indifference and lack of interest in sex, thus creating divorces and otherwise tearing apart good relationships.
Nowhere did the article mention that lack of sunlight and/or high blood vitamin D blood levels were major causes of depression. Dealing with depression, as suggested by WebMD, is one way of coping, I suppose; preventing it is quite another, and it is a far better choice. Fortunately, sunlight and vitamin D can often do both.
Sunlight that enters the eye dramatically relieves depression by increasing production of one of the body’s natural antidepressants, serotonin. Most antidepressant drugs also try to relieve depression by maintaining circulating blood-serotonin at high levels. Interestingly, research has proven that sunlight does a better job at raising serotonin levels that do drugs. A study reported in the Lancet in 2002 found that brain serotonin levels were greater during the summer, and higher on sunny days than cloudy ones—the brighter the sunlight, the greater the production of serotonin. The researchers also found that the number of daily hours of bright sunlight was directly related to the production of serotonin by the brain (remember never to stare directly into the sun; indirect sunlight is sufficient). Anyone who has ventured outside on a sunny spring day after enduring a long, sunless winter immediately feels an increase in wellbeing and a decrease in depression. Here are more reasons to save your marriage with light and vitamin D as opposed to the noxious, antidepressant drugs:
1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), indicates that antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) may increase depression in some cases and lead to suicidal thoughts. Some of the brands involved are Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac, Effexor, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Celexa and Serzone, although the FDA listed 34 drugs. The entire list is at fda.gov/cder/drug/antidepressants/.
2. SSRI’s don’t work very well! A meta-analysis of data on SSRI’s submitted to the FDA indicates that placebos (sugar pills) are as effective as SSRI’s in reducing depression; in other words, only drug companies benefit from SSRI’s—not depression sufferers.
3. Two research papers in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, show that taking antidepressants called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s)—the most popular antidepressant drugs—dramatically reduces bone mass in users compared to non-users.  The first study demonstrated that elderly women who take SSRI’s lost nearly 43% more bone per year than those who did not. The second established that bone mineral density (BMD) among elderly male SSRI users was about 4% lower at the hip bone and about 6% lower at the spine compared to those reporting no SSRI use. Another investigation reported that SSRI-using adults over the age of 50 were twice as likely to fracture a bone and twice as likely to fall as those who did not use the drugs. These risks were dose-dependent, meaning that as the dosage of the drug increased, there was an accompanying increase in fractures and falling.
4. The use of antidepressant drugs may lead to a doubling of the risk of diabetes!
5. Vitamin D itself dramatically reduces the risk of depression. See my previous blog: http://drsorenson.blogspot.com/2009/01/vitamin-d-and-depression-how-sad.html
Considering the downside of these awful drugs and the upside of sunlight/vitamin D therapy, it makes sense to improve your marriage the way God intended, with love, sunlight and vitamin D!
 Lambert, G. et al. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet 2002;360:1840-42.
 USA Food and Drug Administration web site, updated July 12, 2005.
 Diem, S. et al. Use of antidepressants and rates of hip bone loss in older women: the study of osteoporotic fractures. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:1240.
 Haney, E. et al. Association of low bone mineral density with selective serotonin uptake inhibitor use by older men. Arch Intern Med 2007167:1246-51.
 Richards, J. et al. Effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:188-94.
 University of Alberta (2008, March 26). Antidepressants Linked To Type 2 Diabetes, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/03/080325122804.htm
 Kirsch, I. et al. Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Medicine 2008;5:e45. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045 Accessed March 11, 2008.