The link between addiction, sunlight, and vitamin D


Why we need the sun!! ☀️This was a super interesting study I read recently, around the psychology of sun exposure and opioid addiction, and the role of vitamin d ☀️Opioids are powerful pain relief medication which are commonly used in severe pain, or after surgery, however they can also be highly addictive and cause dependency in some people ☀️While there are many other factors involved in this, vitamin d and sunlight is a intriguing one ☀️In this study, vitamin d deficiency in mice, was linked with higher rates of both opioid addiction and withdrawal, and correcting this deficiency helped to reduce addiction ☀️This fits with several other human studies showing that vitamin d deficiency increases the risk of opioid addiction ☀️The theory behind this is that exposure to sunlight releases endorphins (feel good hormones), which activates the same receptors in the brain as morphine ☀️People often crave sunlight in a similar way to people craving opioids - I know I definitely miss the sun when it's not there for a few days!! ☀️From an evolutionary perspective, scientists believe this endorphin release from sun is a drive to get adequate vitamin d - otherwise mid winter we'd stay indoors and end up severely deficient ☀️Other studies have also shown that vitamin d deficiency is linked with higher pain levels, and that sunlight exposure reduces pain levels through endorphin release ☀️Vitamin d deficiency is also associated with higher rates of many other diseases - so while I don't advocate excessive sun exposure (you definitely don't want to get sunburnt), it may well be that regular controlled exposure to the sun has far more benefits than risks. ☀️Getting out in sunlight on a regular basis, especially in winter, is something I would recommend - it's great for mood, mental health, vitamin d, blood pressure, and much more ☀️Its also another good excuse to head outdoors for some time in nature!!

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/benefits-of-sunlight#:~:text=Being%20in%20the%20sun%20generally,are%20hormones%20that%20reduce%20pain. https://scitechdaily.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-strongly-exaggerates-the-craving-for-and-effects-of-opioids-supplements-may-help-combat-addiction/

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