Feeling Depressed? Soak Up the Sun

May 26, 2015

Vitamin D is a must-have for dancers since it helps the body absorb calcium to maintain strong bones. But recent research from Oregon State University suggests the vitamin may also be linked to mental health. 


The study in Psychiatry Research is of particular note to college dance majors, as the participants closely align with that age group. Levels of vitamin D were measured through blood samples from 185 female undergraduates, and each participant completed a weekly survey of depression symptoms for five weeks. It turns out that the women who had lower amounts of vitamin D at the start of the five-week period were more apt to experience symptoms of depression during the course of the study. This remained true even after the time of year, physical activity and time spent outdoors were taken into account. 


What does this mean for you? Many dancers are already at risk for vitamin D deficiency due to the amount of time spent in the studio. When you soak up some sun on a stroll during a rehearsal break, know that you’re doing good for more than just one part of your body. You can also boost your levels of vitamin D by stocking your diet with foods like salmon, tuna or egg yolks. They’ll help your body more effectively absorb calcium, and therefore be less susceptible to fractures. In this case, a strong body may also mean a strong mind.