Supplementing Vitamin D in Winter Can Prevent Depression

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We've already had a few tastes of winter here in the cowboy state and as we get prepared something you might not think of is protecting your brain. News 13 went out to find ways to prevent mental illness during the winter.
A tan, vitamin D and a health tomato crop are all hard to get in the winter and all for the same reason. There's just not enough sun to go around.
Deborah Miller, with the Wyoming Medical Center said, "Sunshine is the best source for vitamin D. There's really nothing else that compares to that."
Vitamin D is important because it helps fight off depression. Which in Wyoming we're already at a greater risk for than many other states.
Dee Ann Lippincott, of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center said, "The higher altitude you go and the higher you go in the country the higher the rates of depression."
While sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D and ward off depression, it isn't the only way. For example there's a strong connection between a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind.
Lippincott said, "People who eat a healthier diet are less prone to depression then people who eat the more western diet which is more based on junk food and fast food, and not a lot of fruits and vegetables."
So for children who spend most of the day at school a diet rich in vitamin D is a great way to prevent depression. Parents can supplement the vitamin by adding fish to their child's diet or buying food fortified with vitamin D.
Miller said, "Some of those include your milk, cereals and other foods so reading food labels can also help parents provide the correct food for their children."
And if you feel like that still isn't enough to replace the sun there are many over-the-counter vitamin D supplements, but be sure to ask a doctor and make sure you're getting the right one.
Miller said, "They do vary according to international units and strengths. And of course depending on age, the strength you need might be different."
Concerned parents should look for slipping grades and sluggishness as sign of depression. To get it checked out the Central Wyoming Counseling Center is offering free screenings this week.