It’s that time of year. The holidays are over, the sun’s been gone for oh-so-long, and the winter blahs have set in. We’ve just passed Blue Monday – the “most depressing day of the year.” All you want to do is curl up inside, pull the covers over your head, and wait for spring. Chances are you’ve got SAD.
SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, isn’t completely understood by science – yet. It is believed to be a combination of lack of vitamin D, disruptions in circadian rhythms and, in my humble opinion, the blasted cold weather.
If your mood and motivation is low this time of year, read on. These are our top picks for supplements to get you through the rest of winter unscathed – or at least a little less miserably.
The Ultimate SAD Buster: Vitamin D
We’ve talked a few times before about the importance of Vitamin D and which form is best, so there’s really not much more to say. If you didn’t start taking your Vitamin D in the fall, there’s no time like the present. The best part: Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it stays in our system for up to 6 months.
B vitamins, particularly B6, folic acid, and B12 are important for your mental health. Incorporating a good B Complex into your supplement routine can make a huge difference in your mood. We recommend CanPrev’s Synergy B Complex, which has a bonus hit of L-Theanine, for mental calmness.
The DHA in fish oil is helps promote the normal function of neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Unfortunately for the vegetarians and vegans out there, most plant sources of omega 3s are poorly converted in the body, which means you’ll be getting less DHA even if you take the same dose of omega 3s. If you can take a fish oil, Progressive’s OmegEssential with Vitamin D is a great choice. It has 550mg of DHA, plus the added bonus of Vitamin D.
For those whose depression is tied to their circadian rhythms being out of whack, melatonin can help get you back on track. When we have so few hours of light in a day, your body can get confused about when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Consider taking 3mg about an hour before bedtime to help your body get back in rhythm naturally.
NB – THE NEXT TWO SUPPLEMENTS YOU CANNOT TAKE WHILE ON SSRIs, OR IN COMBINATION WITH EACH OTHER
5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, and is often prescribed as an alternative to SSRI antidepressants. YOU CANNOT TAKE 5-HTP IN COMBINATION WITH OTHER ANTI-DEPRESSANTS.
St. John’s Wort
Made from the pretty yellow plant with the same name, St. John’s Wort’s active ingredient hyperforin is helpful in battling depression. YOU CANNOT TAKE ST. JOHN’S WORT IN COMBINATION WITH OTHER ANTI-DEPRESSANTS.
You don’t want to spend the next 2 to 4 months in misery. If your depression isn’t letting up, make sure to see a doctor IMMEDIATELY to discuss your symptoms. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.