AVOID THE WINTER BLUES
AVOID THE WINTER BLUES With winter approaching very fast it’s important to realize that we will unfortunately see less sun and more clouds. More importantly we need to realize that this means less vitamin D, as the sun is the most natural way of humans acquiring vitamin D. There will be some of us who can even go through a condition known as seasonal effective disorder (SAD). This is why I always encourage my clients to take a good quality vitamin D supplement, and I usually recommend that they take 5000IU daily and get a blood test to measure serum blood levels of vitamin D as some people may need a higher daily dosage. In addition to vitamin D's well-known role in calcium absorption, vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g dopamine, serotonin) that affect brain function and development. In fact researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain-the same regions that are linked with depression. Let's get back to the winter blues which we call Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This mood disorder features depressive symptoms, which occur during the dark times of the year when there is relatively little sunshine, coinciding with the sudden drop in vitamin D levels in the body. Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of SAD may be due to changing levels of vitamin D, which may affect serotonin. Although vitamin D supplementation may improve mood, vitamin D is only a small, but critical, part of treatment as depression has myriad causes. If you know anyone who may feel particularly blue during the winter times, tell them to take vitamin D, or visit their local practitioner for more help and advice. Depression should never be suffered in silence.