As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, you may be finding a shift in your attitude, mood and overall mental or even physical health. The good news is that you are definitely not alone. In fact, it’s extremely common to feel a little down during this time of year. You may also be experiencing low energy levels and increased carbs or sugar cravings.
According to Mental Health America, 5-10 percent of people suffer from the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which you might be experiencing right now. While the exact causes of SAD are uncertain, it is thought that a vitamin D deficiency and lack of sunshine prevent the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain, from functioning properly.
The good news is that there are some all-natural treatments for SAD, which your body definitely needs more of throughout the winter months. These natural supplements don’t result in weight gain, sleep problems, and other side effects that prescribed drugs often do.
So, what are the best natural supplements which help combat winter blues?
People with SAD have been reported to have low levels of vitamin D. This could be due to a low dietary intake of the vitamin or insufficient sun exposure. In this case, try to consume more foods that are riched in vitamin D. For example, oily fish such as salmon, red meat, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms.
5-HTP is a precursor of serotonin. It is often used for depression and occasionally for insomnia and anxiety. According to Brain Feed, “a review of 13 studies found that those supplemented with 5-HTP reported improvement in mood and lowered depression scores”. 5-HTP can be found in turkey, chicken, potatoes, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, turnips, and seaweed. Alternatively, you can purchase 5-HTP supplements from most vitamin and health stores.
Omega 3 has been studied thoroughly for its effects on heart health, inflammation and even mental health. According to Harvard Health, there is a large study underway examining whether omega-3 supplementation (alone or in combination with vitamin D) can prevent depression in healthy older adults. Throughout winter, it is quite common for us to eat far less omega-3-rich foods than we do in summer. This includes oily fish such as salmon. If you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or just simply don’t like fish, you can also buy vegan omega-3 supplements which are commonly created with algae oil.
St John’s Wort
For generations, people have used the wild plant St. John’s wort, to treat mental health issues. In Europe, it is frequently prescribed for depression and in the United States, is offered as a dietary supplement. It has been widely valued for its ability to alleviate mild to moderate mental illnesses, and many people have found it to be particularly beneficial for SAD.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. According to We Are Wellbeing, low B12 levels have been linked to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Because of this, supplementing the vitamin may help to beat those winter blues or the more serious Seasonal Affective Disorder. Foods rich in Vitamin B12 include tuna, salmon, dairy products, and eggs.
In addition to vitamins and supplements, other ways to combat the winter blues include regular exercise, mindfulness activities or simply talking to someone who you trust. If you are having a hard time releasing negative, dark, and depressing energy, please contact me at email@example.com, and together, we can discuss how to balance your mind, body, and soul.