Seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a very real and prevalent thing. As a result of shorter and darker days, more rain and colder weather, these changes can easily create a recipe for sadness.
A healthy diet plays a huge role in our mood; unfortunately, our nutritional needs can no longer be solely relied on by the food we eat. Essential nutrients have been depleted from the soil and genetically modified foods (GMO) alter beneficial bacteria in our intestines. Consequently, symptoms like fatigue, depression, anxiety, brain fog, and even changes in eating habits can set in.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, consider checking the levels in your body of the following vitamins and minerals that can help press the ‘restart’ button and get you doing a little happy dance again!
The “sunshine” vitamin! When exposed to natural sunlight, your body can actually produce this vitamin all on its own. Because Vitamin D is found in very few food sources, supplementation is important. Seasonal depression can creep up quickly with a lack of exposure to sun. A Vitamin D level below 30 mL is considered insufficient, so, if you’ve been feeling that brain fog, anxiety, or lethargy, this could be part of the equation. Look for a Vitamin D supplement that contains D3, which is twice as effective at raising your levels back up. Check out this D3 liquid supplement and ask your doctor for more information and if this is the right one for you.
I take a Magnesium supplement every night before bed and it has made a huge difference! Nearly 80% of adults are deficient in this. Not only does it regulate blood sugar, it keeps our bones strong, supports nerve function, aids digestion, and…surprise, surprise, it can help with better sleep and our mood. In addition, many vitamins, including Vitamin D, cannot be metabolized without Magnesium.
Low energy? Fatigue? Lack of focus? A B12 deficiency can be the culprit here, too. As one of the leading deficiencies in the WORLD, B12 deficiencies can help support so many health concerns. It is even being studied to help slow the rate of Alzheimer’s and dementia due to its role in preventing memory loss and other neurodegenerative diseases.
An essential trace element, important for hormone production, digestion and immunity repair, and is an anti-inflammatory agent. Deficiencies in Zinc can show up in the form of lack of focus, depression, aggression, and difficulties with memory. Oh, my!
A mineral that is important for thyroid function. An unhealthy thyroid can result in changes in mood, metabolism, fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, muscle weakness…the list goes on. Good news! It is easily preventable. Foods like seaweed, cranberries, eggs, and shrimp are rich in iodine. Supplements containing iodine, like this one can be important to ensure you’re boosting your levels.
I talk about this amino acid in my blog about Matcha and its ability to help support relaxation, focus, and sleep! Because it slows down the rate of caffeine absorption in the body, it counteracts those jitters and anxious feelings many are prone to. L-Theanine has been used for thousands of years and, studies have shown it can enhance attention within 30 minutes of consumption.
Another amino acid that helps the body produce chemicals that support your energy and mood, increase our “feel good” neurotransmitters, and protect against stress. You know that term, “fight or flight?” Tyrosine can help regulate this, too! Foods high in protein, like grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, and beans (for my vegan friends!) can help increase Tyrosine in the body. Check out more info here!
Along with supplements, there are so many other steps you can take to manage seasonal depression, anxiety, and other mood related symptoms. From a short 5-minute meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, and essential oils like Frankincense and my favorite, Wild Orange, you can feel confident that there are safe and effective natural solutions.
Please consult with your doctor on this matter and, if you’re feeling sad or anxious, talk to someone and find support. There is always hope and a light to guide your way.