TweetThe colder seasons can bring about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can cause depression, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia. But even if you don’t develop SAD, the winter’s lack of sunlight and forced time spent indoors can generally dampen your mood. Luckily there are daily, holistically healthy supplements you can take to help keep your mood up!
Here are four you can try this winter:
SAMe is a compound naturally made by your body which has been linked with depression. Patients diagnosed with clinical depression have lower levels of SAMe, generally. Researchers have conducted numerous studies on SAMe supplementation and depression but couldn’t conclude with certainty that SAMe significantly alleviates depression.
But a significant percentage of patients reported feeling less depressed after supplementing with SAMe. Given the link between lower levels of SAMe and depression, you can try taking SAMe this winter to keep your mood up. Taking SAMe is relatively safe unless you have bipolar disorder or are taking medications that may interact with it.
2. Vitamin D
Your body makes vitamin D when sunlight makes contact with your skin. It’s also found in food, but people usually don’t eat enough vitamin D-rich foods to get their daily dose. Since you get less sunlight in winter, your vitamin D levels generally drop during the colder seasons unless you supplement with vitamin D or eat more vitamin D-rich foods.
Vitamin D has been linked with depression and is vital to brain function. In studies, clinically depressed patients with low vitamin D levels who supplemented with vitamin D reported feeling less depressed. But there’s only limited evidence that finds that supplementing with vitamin D when your vitamin D levels are normal can alleviate depression.
Chances are your vitamin D levels are sub par now that you’re not getting enough sun. Try supplementing with vitamin D and see if it boosts your mood.
If you’re eating your veggies with every meal, then you probably don’t need to supplement with magnesium. Still, researchers have found that patients with major depression who had deficient levels of vitamin D recovered rapidly when they started supplementing with magnesium. They found that magnesium deficiency (with too much calcium intake) can cause irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and other symptoms of depression.
Magnesium regulates calcium transport in the brain. Researchers found that too much calcium and too little magnesium intake can cause damage to brain cells, which can lead to depression.
Magnesium also boosts serotonin production, which helps combat depression. Try supplementing with magnesium and see if it brightens your mood this winter – it’s a very safe supplement to take, with additional health benefits like stronger bones and better heart health. Just don’t go over the dose limits and you should be fine.
Tryptophan is the famous compound people keep talking about when Thanksgiving and turkeys come around. But did you know tryptophan can also lower depression? Researchers found that people suffering from depression and anxiety who were fed a high-tryptophan diet experienced lower anxiety and depression after two weeks.
Tryptophan boosts serotonin production in your brain. But eating protein blocks tryptophan’s serotonin-boosting effects. For insomnia and anxiety relief, psychologists recommend eating a wholesome carb-rich snack, like oatmeal, a few hours before consuming protein.
But some doctors who advocate holistic, natural health (like Dr. Axe) say that tryptophan supplements are more effective at boosting serotonin than eating carb-rich foods. Given what they say, plus the fact that eating carb-rich foods can cause weight gain, it’s best to take tryptophan supplements if you want to boost your serotonin levels.
Sticking to tryptophan supplements means you don’t have to worry about any carb intake, but you still have to ensure you haven’t eaten any protein some hours prior.
Try these four supplements this winter to boost your mood and keep you smiling through the cold weather. Being happier means you’ll be more productive and have more energy to keep you going throughout the day!
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe): In Depth | NCCIH
S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) for depression in adults. - PubMed - NCBI
Vitamin D and depression. - PubMed - NCBI
Depression and Vitamin D Deficiency: Is There a Connection?
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