The end of daylight savings time over the weekend means longer nights, colder days, and less time spent outside. It can be a difficult transition, especially in northern regions of the US and Canada where many people rise before the sun comes up and don’t make it home from work until after sundown. This seasonal shift can take a negative toll on the activity levels and diet needed to maintain long term health and wellbeing.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is estimated to impact more than 20% of Americans annually according to American Family Physician. SAD is a type of depression linked to the change in seasons, usually beginning in the fall and continuing through the winter until clearing up when the weather warms in the spring. Common symptoms include feeling lethargic, anxious, and a having a loss of interest in activities that are normally enjoyable.
SAD and Vitamin D
SAD is more prevalent during the winter months when Vitamin D stores are low. Vitamin D therapies have been shown in studies to help lessen the effects of depression, and have been used in the treatment of SAD.
Two of the most common treatments for SAD are light therapy and a high dose vitamin D supplement. Light therapy works to replace natural sunlight, and helps stimulate the body’s own vitamin D production. While effective, light therapy poses risks because you must have unprotected exposure to UV rays to stimulate vitamin D production, which can lead to increased risk of skin cancer and other complications overtime.
Making the Most of Vitamin D Supplementation
Vitamin D supplementation is a fairly easy treatment option for SAD, and there is little risk of taking too much vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D help to enhance mood, it also contributes to the body’s ability to build strong bones. To optimize the absorption of vitamin D within the body it is recommended that it be taken with a meal or healthy oil like flaxseed oil or a concentrated Omega-3 fish oil. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and when taken in the presence of dietary fat, the body is able to absorb this important micronutrient more efficiently.
To help combat SAD, or even a mild case of winter blues, consider adding a vitamin D fortified supplement, such as SFH Super Omega-3 Fish Oil with 1000 IU of vitamin D, to your routine now. The days are only getting shorter, so plan ahead to stay healthy and happy all season long.