The so-called “winter blues” may not be an old adage. As the sun drops low in the sky, many people deal with seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Fall and winter become depressing times where affected people simply want to sleep, eat or do nothing at all. Some people take mineral supplements, such as magnesium, to boost their energy and health, according to Barrington Nutritionals. It may be necessary, however, to look at vitamin D as a supplement to increase energy during the low-light autumn and winter days.
Vitamin D and Depression
According to the University of Georgia, in a report on ScienceDaily, SAD and depressive side effects are linked to low vitamin D levels. People usually have higher vitamin D levels in the spring and summer, but shorter days in the fall and winter cause levels to drop. Vitamin D is normally associated with calcium and bone health, both physical factors. Doctors are now looking at the mental side of the coin and discovering both vitamins and minerals play a key part in almost all aspects of life.
Eating for Health
A balanced diet is always the best solution for any physical or mental issues. However, vitamin D isn’t found in all foods. Drink vitamin D fortified milk or orange juice, for example. It’s clearly marked on most cartons. There may even be calcium added in to boost bone health. Other foods for vitamin D deficiencies include fish, liver oils and egg yolks. Because vitamin D is in a limited amount of foods, people don’t realize they have an issue until it truly sets in.
Sunlight Factor is Key
One of the simplest ways to take in the necessary daily vitamin D is walking outside. Taking a 15-minute walk, for instance, is a long enough time to absorb enough sunlight into the skin to generate vitamin D. You should wear sunscreen to avoid any skin damage, but sunlight exposure is a healthy activity in small doses. One issue many people face in winter is cloudy days. You may be outside, but the sun isn’t out to offer the exposure. In these cases, you should stay out longer in the ambient light. There is sunlight coming through, but just in smaller amounts.
Light Therapy and Supplements are Options
For people living in very dark areas of the world, such as extreme northerly regions, light therapy is an option. A very bright light similar to a makeup mirror shines on your face. Doctors may prescribe a certain amount of lumens or time under the light. Although natural sunlight is best, light therapy helps vitamin D levels and reduces some SAD effects. There is always supplementation as an option. Doctors prescribe a certain vitamin D amount through pills to keep your body balanced with the seasons.
According to Amanda Gardner at WebMD, deficiencies are often not noticed until a professional makes a determination. It’s best to have regular checkups to note any physical or mental problems before they become real issues. The human body is a balanced machine with constant needs.