Persons with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) do not look forward to autumn's splendor or winter's beauty. Instead the shorter days of fall and winter bring a sense of dread. The lack of sunlight increases their body's production of sleep-regulating melatonin which changes a normal sleep cycle. The result can be an exhaustion that can make getting out of bed a struggle. In addition, the reduction of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin, fosters a low mood and increases strong cravings for carbohydrate foods like pasta, breads, and sweets.
Children and teens can also suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Their changed moods and lack of concentration can be mistaken as difficult behavior.
Our brains use about 20 to 25 percent of our body's calories. For optimal health our brains need those calories to be from nutrient rich foods. Researchers looked at the diet of more than 3,000 office workers over the course of five years and found that people who ate a diet based on fruits, vegetables, and fish were less likely to be depressed.
Along with avoiding junk foods and eating a diet rich in healthy nutrients, persons suffering from SAD are encouraged to increase their exposure to light. Some persons treat SAD by sitting in front of a special light box that mimics sunlight. Others find that a brisk 30 minute early morning walk outdoors, even on a cloudy day, is an effective way to get the needed extra daylight plus the benefits of mood boosting exercises. Scientists have recently found that humans have a separate light-detection system in our eyes. This system is believed to help reset our internal clock. The recommended time to reset our internal clock by outdoor light exposure is between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.
The Melaleuca Wellness Guide tells us that a good nutritional system is essential to combat SAD. Nutritional research indicates that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the nervous system correlate with a higher rate of depression. Vitality Coldwater Omega-3 and Vitality Omega-3 Creme Delight include essential fatty acids that must be supplied by the diet. Our brains and bodies thrive when we consume omega-3 fats.
Additional natural therapies include taking St John's wort and 5-HTP. Patented Luminex contains St. John's wort and 5-HTP with added folic acid and vitamin B1.
Unforgettables is a patent-pending formula of natural phosphatidylserine (PS), omega-3s, ginkgo biloba and antioxidants (blueberries and vitamin E). PS has been shown effective in improving memory and boosting mood and has shown potential benefits on depressive symptoms. Taking a supplement is recommended because it is difficult to absorb phosphatidylserine from the food we eat.
Early morning outdoor light exposure and diet changes can help sufferers of seasonal affective disorders thrive even in less sunshine, and see the beauty of every season.
~ Richard M Barry
The Melaleuca Wellness Guide
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The people below will receive a free copy of The Melaleuca Wellness Guide for submitting their stories.
I have always had a hard time with mild depression in November when all the leaves are off the trees and it gets dark too early for my liking. February just seems like winter will never end and a couple of years ago I started taking Luminex both months and it has made a world of difference for me. I truly call it my happy pill!