THE sunshine vitamin banishes the blues and helps defeat depression, researchers say.
Vitamin D, which the body makes using UV rays during sunny weather, was found to boost mood.
It works by keeping brain hormones serotonin and dopamine in balance — and maintaining healthy levels of activity in vital nerve cells.
Supplements of 2,000 micrograms or more each day can reduce depressive symptoms, the University of Eastern Finland researchers said.
Most fair-skinned people make the same amount naturally from less than half an hour in summer sunshine.
The research involved 53,235 people, using questionnaires to monitor depression symptoms while they were given various amounts of supplements.
Researcher Tuomas Mikola said: “Our analyses showed that vitamin D supplementation appeared to reduce depressive symptoms, especially among individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder and in women with perinatal depressive symptoms.
“However, it did not seem to affect depressive symptoms in older adults over 65 years.”
The researchers suggest using vitamin D supplements would be an effective way to enhance other depression treatments.