A report published in the journal of the American Psychological Association says, "A higher than average incidence of psychological disorders in adult artists (visual artists, writers, musicians, actors) or creative individuals has been reported in numerous studies...
Post (1994) found that almost three quarters of a sample of eminent novelists and playwrights had been treated for affective illness; Andreasen (1987) reported an 80% lifetime prevalence rate of affective disorders in a sample of writers; and Jamison (1989) found that nearly 40% of a sample of professional artists and writers had been treated for affective disorders."
Among the most common of the disorders is clinical depression. While there is a range of anti-depressant medications available there is also concern about their effectiveness and side effects. Therefore people who suffer from depression (which includes me) are always on the lookout for other options.
As reported in Psyblog, a new study has shown that there is a causal link between Vitamin D and serotonin, vasopressin, and oxytocin, three hormones that relate to social behaviour. It indicates that higher levels of vitamin D lead to higher levels of serotonin in the brain.
Many anti-depressant medications raise brain levels of serotonin. Serotonin levels are lower in the winter, which may be a factor behind Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Some estimates say that 70% of the people in the United States and up to 80% in the United Kingdom are deficient in Vitamin D. Especially in the US, the fear of skin cancer has increased the everyday use of lotions to stop exposure to the sun. Exposure to sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D.
For fair-skinned people the recommended level of exposure is 20 to 30 minutes on the face and forearms at midday in the summer. In the UK the sunlight between October and April is not strong enough to make enough vitamin D.
Only a few foods are rich in vitamin D: salmon, mackerel, trout, cod liver oil, and (to a lesser degree) eggs. Some foods, especially breakfast cereals and some fat spreads, are fortified with Vit D.
The only way to know whether or not you have sufficent levels is a blood test. However, if you live in the UK, and especially if you don't eat oily fish, you may want to consider Vit D supplements. The NHS says you should not take more than 25 micrograms (1000iu) per day unless advised to do so by your doctor. Excessive intake over a long period may lead to kidney damage and may soften the bones.