Feeling Depressed? Get Your D!

People who know me often describe me a being a sunny personality. I agree! I tend to look on the bright side of life, and consider myself to be an eternal optimist.

But come the winter months, I find myself a little less sunshiny - and even a little down. I can be quite pooped out, achy, without energy, and moody - which is totally not normal for me! Thankfully, after a particularly slow, slightly SAD winter last year, I learned that my symptoms were related to a Vitamin D deficiency.

This deficiency is commonly seasonal: most Vitamin D is made when skin is exposed to sunlight, and since during the darker months our planet moves away from the sun - colder weather means most of us don't spend time outdoors. So instead of a healthy store of Vitamin D, we end up with an unhealthy store of Vitamin Depression - the winter blues! It is so common, in fact, that researchers have classified winter depression as a seasonal mood disorder, often referred to as "seasonal affective disorder, or SAD".
For people suffering from SAD-like symptoms: difficulty waking up in the morning, tendency to oversleep as well as to overeat, and especially a craving for carbohydrates - which leads to weight gain - treatment can be simple. Supplementing with Vitamin D and eating D-rich foods like salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, cod and eggs, can significantly enhance Vitamin D stores. We need the sun, too! I'm not saying go get a tan, of course - a 15 minute walk per day, exposing the hands, face, or legs to sunlight, is perfectly enough. And the added exercise benefit gives us all a boost!
Recently I purchased a light-box, which I use between 30 - 60 minutes every morning. I just run it on, and go about my business - it's just like being outside! While there are many light-boxes available on-line, I found mine HERE. I have found that coupled with my diet and walks, the light-box has also helped me have way more energy this season - and I have upped my thrill-ness to normal!
On another note, while winter blues can signal deficient d's, a deficiency in Vitamin D can often be more serious than just a case of the blahs. Without this vitamin, children can develop bone deformities or growth retardation , and as adults we can suffer from bone fractures, bone pain and soft bones. Back in my Grandmama's day, a spoonful of cod liver oil - rich in D - was given to all children to avoid rickets, a childhood disease characterized by improper bone development. In fact, I remember my own Momma giving me a daily dose (usually cut with peppermint or cherry, which did nothing to disguise the taste). Today, eating Vitamin D-rich foods and supplementing when necessary, coupled with 10 - 15 minutes of sun exposure daily, protects us from a range of physical and mental ailments.
As we move towards the dead of winter and into a new year, I wish you a report card full of D's! The most healthy, happy kind, of course.
Love and happiness, Sage
Photo Credit: mysza

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published