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12th Nov


How to Deal with the Seasonal Blues

This time of year is always very busy and with the hours of daylight diminishing, we start trying to cram more into our already busy schedule.  We start to get into the holiday rush and our own health and well-being gets pushed to the back burner and becomes secondary to all the “more important” things we need to get done.  The truth is, this time of year is the most crucial time for us to boost our health regimen and make sure that we are doing all we can to stay well.

People take many steps to try and prevent seasonal ailments and conditions.  One condition that is growing in occurrence in our country is Seasonal Affect Disorder (S.A.D.).  SAD is a form of depression that is brought on by the changing of the seasons from summer into fall and winter and there is a scientific reason for this phenomenon.  During the Fall/Winter months in North America the earth tilts on its axis so that Sun’s rays are focused more in the southern hemisphere.  We get fewer direct rays of sunlight and this provides us with the changing seasons.  Although this time of year can be very beautiful, it can mean misery for a growing number of the population.

The sun gives us many things that are critical to sustaining life on this planet.  Humans synthesize Vitamin D by absorbing sunlight through their skin.  Vitamin D deficiency is now thought to be and proven to be linked to many chronic ailments, one of them being depression.  Let’s look at this a little closer.  Recent studies have shown that people who have at least 30 min of sun exposure per day during the winter months were less likely to have the winter blues as compared to those who didn’t get the sun exposure.  If the sun’s rays are less direct in the winter time and we spend less time outside due to the coinciding decrease in temperature, we synthesize less natural Vitamin D.  Although the exact links between Vitamin D deficiency and depression are still being studied, it is well accepted in the healthcare community as being a causal linkage.

Just as important during the winter months, Vitamin D plays a prominent role the immune system.  It helps in stimulating the activation of key cells within the immune system.   In the United States the winter months are dominant in the occurrence of cold and flu cases and isn’t it amazing that this is exactly the same time we synthesize less vitamin D due to decreased sun exposure?

So what can one do to help decrease or prevent the symptoms of both SAD and risk of contracting the flu?  Here a few tips and tricks to keep those winter blues at bay:

  1. Optimize vitamin D intake from natural sunshine exposure preferably.  In a 2006 study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry people with the lowest levels of Vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to be depressed than those with normal levels.  Remember SAD is a type of depression we know is linked to sunshine deficiency.   Mood Lamps that emit full spectrum light can also be affective in the winter months but nothing substitutes for natural sunlight.
  2. Greatly Decrease your consumption of sugars, grains and processed foods.  Processed foods have a lot of sugars and additives (MSG, Nitrites, Artificial sweeteners) that can greatly affect mental function and immunity.  (check out the book, “The Sugar Blues” for a link between sugar and mental Health)
  3. Increase consumption of probiotic foods.  Such as fermented vegetables, drinks and probiotic live cultures in pill form to promote healthy gut flora. 
  4. Other Tips that are just as important: Get adequate amounts of sleep, vitamin B12, Omega-3 animal based fatty acids and REGULAR exercise. 

The human body is an amazing thing and if given the right ingredients and placed in a favorable environment it can do wonderful things all on its own.

Author:  Jake Akerson DC

Contact our office today to set up a free consultation: 402-327-0400. We are located at 4220 Lucile Dr., Ste 2, Lincoln, NE 68506 (NE Corner of 76th and Pioneers)



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