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December 2, 2013

NATURAL HEALTH: Protect yourself from the winter blues

Tonawanda News — Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that affects many individuals especially in regions that experience longer and colder winters. The farther north you are from the equator, the higher your incidence of suffering from this very real form of depression.

In most cases, SAD occurs each year around the same time. Common symptoms include depression, sadness, inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, increased carbohydrate cravings, weight gain and longer sleep patterns. Many become frustrated because they have a difficult time “snapping out” of these feelings.

Women are more likely to suffer SAD and most fall between the ages of 20 and 40. The short daylight hours seem to play havoc with our body’s internal clock and interfere with our normal biological rhythms that regulate all of our physical and psychological functions. Symptoms generally become worse in January and February. As spring approaches, symptoms will typically diminish as the days get longer.  

As a mild sufferer, it seems quite obvious as to what the cause is. Going to and from work in the dark, the bitter cold and the predominantly cloudy skies don’t leave us feeling very optimistic or energetic. Sorry if I just brought you down. In just a few more months this too shall pass.  

Vitamin D3 supplementation is the most beneficial when it comes to preventing or minimizing SAD. The necessary dosage is between 4000 iu and 10,000 iu to keep your levels between normal during the winter months. You will also be less likely to suffer from a cold or flu.

Low serotonin levels — the happy hormone — are more common in the winter, as it seems that exposure to sunlight helps to raise these levels dramatically. That wonderful feeling of “spring fever” is a result of optimal serotonin levels.  

I personally would love to bottle that feeling and offer it to all my patients. 

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