January is prime time for SAD or Seasonal Mood Affective Disorder. Do you know anyone who suffers from this disorder?
WHAT IS SAD
Seasonal Mood Affective Disorder is considered depression with a seasonal pattern (1). The diagnosis of SAD comes after seasonal depression has occurred over a two year period. (1)
Females are at a greater risk than men, and those who live in areas with less sun and warm air have a greater risk than those who live closer to the equator.
PHYSIOLOGY OF SAD
Those with SAD have trouble regulating serotonin, overproduce melatonin, and have lower levels of Vitamin D.
Serotonin is a neurotransitter connected to mood, and levels are lower in those with depression . Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. In the shorter days of winter, more melatonin is produced, which creates a feeling of sluggishness and fatigue. Vitamin D, which comes from the sun, is less absorbed during the winter months.
HOW TO TREAT SAD NATURALLY
Taking a high quality Vitamin D supplement in the winter months helps raise Vitamin D levels. Getting outside to absorb as much Vitamin D as possible also helps, as well as exercising, which helps boost endorphins and mood. Eating a healthy diet low in processed foods, sugars and carbohydrates also helps with hormones. Those with SAD might crave sugars and carbohydrates, but starchy carbs and sugars are a blood sugar rollercoaster, which also affects mood.