Cold days, grey skies, short days of sunlight, yes Winter is almost here.
Many people are becoming depressed, experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the winter blues, which is attributed to the changing seasons. Approximately 5% of American adults suffer from SAD annually .
Winter blues have symptoms similar to other types of depression, like feeling hopeless, not being able to focus, having mood swings, avoiding people, and being tired. Symptoms intensify in fall and peak in winter. SAD might be overwhelming and may disrupt daily activities .
Causes of Winter Blues
The darkness of winter months is the main cause of winter blues. With less sunshine, your body's production of two neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) melatonin and serotonin are altered.
Melatonin production increases during the winter months in response to the darkness. This contributes to low energy and sleepiness.
However, serotonin levels drop during the winter months. Sunlight is one of the things that keeps its levels high. Serotonin is your feel-good brain chemical, and its low levels in your body contribute to low mood and other depressive symptoms .
Ways To Beat the Winter Blues
Even though you can't control the weather or the amount of daylight during the winter, you can boost your mood by employing healthy choices. Light therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exercise are clinically proven treatments for SAD that help ease the winter blues.
The following supplements can help you beat the winter blues.
Tryptophan is an amino acid present in foods that are high in protein. When consumed, tryptophan travels to the brain, where it is converted into 5-HTP, which is then turned into serotonin (5-HT).
5-HTP (L-5-Hydroxytryptophan), the precursor of serotonin, is available as a supplement as a natural and safe way to boost serotonin levels. 5-HTP is able to enter the brain freely and is converted directly to serotonin . A review of 13 research indicated that 5-HTP supplementation improved mood and depression levels .
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because your body synthesizes it from cholesterol and sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining a healthy mood, blood sugar level, and immune system. The sun may enhance your mood in as little as 10 minutes, this is why light therapy is so effective for treating SAD.
In addition, vitamin D is necessary to activate the enzyme that converts tryptophan to 5-HTP . Winter is when most people's vitamin D levels are lowest, which affects how well their bodies convert tryptophan to serotonin. Vitamin D and tryptophan are important for maintaining normal serotonin synthesis from tryptophan . Vitamin D is easily absorbed by the body when consumed through food or supplements .
Taking daily Vitamin D3 may improve your mood during the winter. Research suggests that D3 may raise and maintain vitamin D levels better than D2. In addition, it contains 5,000 IU of vitamin D3, equivalent to 1,250% of the daily value (DV).
The B vitamins are essential for brain function, so getting enough may boost your mood and reduce winter blues.
Vitamin B6 is needed to make the mood-controlling neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) [7,8]. Vitamin B6 may also lower homocysteine levels, which have been related to depression and other mental health disorders . One study including 250 older persons indicated that vitamin B6 deficiency doubled the risk of depression .
Folic acid may aid in alleviating the tiredness typically experienced by persons who suffer from the winter blues. Vitamin B12 might also aid in alleviating symptoms. It is absent from all fruits and vegetables. Therefore, vegetarians and vegans must supplement their diets with B12 supplements. Like folic acid, low vitamin B-12 blood levels are linked to depression .
Many Americans are deficient in this mineral supplement. Depression is rising, and a lack of magnesium could be a contributing factor, especially among younger people. Magnesium aids in calcium absorption, among 300 other metabolic activities. Magnesium helps relax muscles when consumed in adequate amounts .
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
Inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA work to dampen down excessive neural activity by blocking the transmission of specific impulses in the brain. When GABA binds to a protein, called a GABA receptor, in your brain, it makes you feel calm. This may reduce anxiety, stress, and fear. Additionally, it may prevent seizures .
GABA is only present in fermented foods, so you can easily take it by taking the Good Mood by MD Logic Health. It is a high-quality and tested supplement containing all the necessary ingredients, such as GABA, 5-HTP, vitamin B6, B12, folic acid, and magnesium, for boosting your mood, brain health, and other symptoms of winter blues.
The Bottom Line
Your physical and mental health can be negatively affected by the winter blues. While you can't control the season, you can make healthy choices to decrease winter blues symptoms. Vitamin D3 and Good Mood can help elevate your mood and reduce your fatigue and sleepiness this winter season.
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- Folic acid. Office on Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/folic-acid
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