Anxiety Patient friendly summary

  • It is unclear if sunlight and vitamin D can lower the risk of anxiety.
  • Sunlight and vitamin D do reduce some of the diseases that may lead to anxiety.

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, apprehension, fear, or worry. Anxiety may interfere with the ability to sleep or otherwise function.

Risk factors

Anxiety disorder can arise from:

  • Illness
  • Treatment for an illness
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Psychological factors

Sunlight exposure and anxiety disorder risk

There have been no reported studies on how sunlight benefits the risk of anxiety.

A study of Antarctic expeditioners did not find any link between vitamin D levels and immune function. However, as vitamin D levels dropped, immune function decreased.

It should be noted that drugs used to treat anxiety disorder may be photosensitive. They may degrade in ultraviolet light from the sun.

Vitamin D and anxiety disorder

Vitamin D levels

Studies of vitamin D benefits on anxiety disorder have met with mixed results:

  • In Finland, mice without functional vitamin D receptors had increased levels of anxiety. Vitamin D receptors help turn genes on or off. However, this finding was not confirmed in similar Australian experiments.
  • People with fibromyalgia were studied in Belfast. Those who also had anxiety and depression were more likely to have lower vitamin D levels.
  • In Italy, a study of patients on chronic hemodialysis found no correlation between vitamin D levels and symptoms of anxiety.

How vitamin D works

Vitamin D may lower the risk of diseases that may cause anxiety. These diseases include cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Prevention

In general, there is weak evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of anxiety. Additional studies are required to determine if a link exists and also the required levels of vitamin D.

Treatment

More studies are needed to determine if higher vitamin D levels would benefit people with anxiety.

Find out more…

We will be adding a detailed evidence summary on this topic in the near future.  Please check back soon to find out more.

Page last edited: 17 May 2011