So the seasons are a changing. As Summer leaves us and we move into Autumn, we begin to wrap up and cover up to keep heat in our bodies and protect ourselves from the cold. B ready for Winter. Are you feeling a little bit different? If you are, you may consider the question. Do I get S.A.D?
How much light do you feel you need to feel happy and full of energy? There has long been noted a relationship between maintaining mental wellness during Winter months and Vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder 3 (SAD), as well as more chronic depression. … “It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D and symptoms of depression.14 Feb 2015
S.A.D or Seasonal Affective Disorder usually occurs in Autumn or Winter.
It occurs when the days are shorter and the light from the sun is less and it usually goes away in the spring and summer, when the days get longer. Some experts think the shorter days, with less sunlight, upset the body’s internal clock. Symptoms can include:
- loss of energy
- sleeping too much
- lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- craving for sweet or starchy foods
- change of mood
Among the therapies used to treat SAD is light therapy, which involves sitting in front of a “light box” for periods of time. Others include: medicines, changes in diet, and stress management. If you think SAD has you down consider a few of these simple steps.
- Buy a light box – these can be bought affordably online and they can help you give your daily dose of light to make you feel better.
- Eat Healthy – SAD can make you want to reach for the digestives but keep upping your diet with fruit and vegetables.
- Choose Vitamin D-rich foods. Eating food which high in Vitamin D can often be the answer to your body’s calling.
- Foods that provide vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
- Beef liver.
- Egg yolks.
- Book a holiday! I have friends who immediately book a holiday the minute the light starts to go, it’s their dose of Vitamin D.
- If you sunbathe, sunbathe topless! If you can either in public or private sunbathing topless for two weeks allows your bones to get enough Vitamin D for the whole year. Sunlight has many beneficial effects in addition to creating vitamin D. The light regulates sleep cycles and helps create melatonin, and the far infrared warms the body and helps with other body systems. Ultra violet rays release the nitric oxide stored in compounds in your skin, dilating blood vessels and promoting cardiovascular health.(1)
- Up your Vitamin D intake…Our hunter-gatherer equatorial ancestors had very dark skin but wore no or little clothing and were outside most or all of the day. Recent studies indicate such people had vitamin D levels around 50 ng/ml. This indicates a vitamin D input of about 5,000 to 10,000 IU/day. The half-life of vitamin D circulating in the body is approximately one month. By the end of winter in high latitudes most people are seriously deficient in vitamin D unless they have a vitamin-rich diet. So go and fill your cart with vitamins and keep your levels up as the nights draw in!
1. On-going research by dermatologist Richard Weller. January 2013.
2. P. G. Lindqvist, E. Epstein, M. Landin-Olsson, C. Ingvar, K. Nielsen, M. Stenbeck, H. Olsson. Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden. Journal of Internal Medicine, 2014, 276; 77-86.