Boosting Your Mood Due To Lack Of Light
With the change of time and the decreasing amount of sunlight we get this time
of year, research has shown that mid to late Fall brings mood swings and
depression. It is not known why some people (those between 18 and 30) are more
likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) and why it seems to
affect women more than men ... unless the statistics are based on the fact that
women are more ready to admit to depression and ask for help than men.
Below are some of the best tips for beating the blues:
1. Getting Your Omega 3's: Some of the best choices for omega 3 essential fatty
acids are salmon, fish oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, soy products, beets,
broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, kale,
turnips and ruta-bega.
The health benefits of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic
acid) have been discussed for years. So it is important to know when you are
shopping for omega 3 in fish oil form that you look at the EPA and DHA numbers
on the label. Your goal is to find a fish oil that is close to this 1,000 mg
number as this is the omega 3 number. I have seen fish oils on the shelf that
are 1,000 mg per pill yet they only have less that 400 omega 3's (EPA and DHA).
So even if your fish oils is 1,000 mg per pill, you must look at the combined
numbers of the EPA and DHA to come as close as you can to this 1,000 mg. If you
supplement with essential fatty acids, be sure you are getting enough. Take
1,000 mg in divided doses, twice a day for a total of 2,000 mg per day.
2. Seratonin: 5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter. Tryptophan, in
addition to being a precursor to serotonin, is also a precursor to niacin and
melatonin. Tryptophan is found in such foods as turkey, cottage cheese, seaweed,
spirulina, soy, spinach, egg whites, crab and halibut. It is a well known
contributor to our overall feeling of well-being. Serotonin has various
functions, which include the regulation of mood, sleep, appetite, muscle
contraction, as well as cognitive functions such as memory and learning.
3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which refers to either D2
(ergocalciferol), synthesized by plants or D3 (cholecalciferol), synthesized by
humans in the skin. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin after 10-15 minutes of
sunlight exposure from the sun or artificial sources. It occurs naturally in
such foods as catfish, fish oil, cod liver oil, mollusks, salmon, shrimp,
sardines in oil, mackerel, soy milk, formula milk for babies enriched with
vitamin D, margarine, butter and eggs. These sources are rich in vitamin D and
are often recommended for consumption to those suffering vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is important for your body as it helps your body synthesis calcium and
phosphorus from your food. Other mood related symptoms are depressive behavior
and Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Vitamin D regulates normal cellular
differentiation and therefore, helps prevent cancer and helps insulin secretion.
Deficiency of this vitamin is the cause of rickets and osteomalacia. vitamin D
may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure) and
help those with fat malabsorption syndromes (such as cystic fibrosis) or
inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease).
The current recommendation for adult intake of vitamin D is 400 IU per day, but
findings from a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggested
that a vitamin D intake of 600 IU was insufficient to maintain adequate vitamin
D levels in the body in the absence of sun exposure. They proposed an increase
of the minimum daily recommended adult dose to 1,000 IU per day (Glerup, 2000),
for those people who are not deficient. The typical vitamin D dosage for those
with deficiency is 5,000-10,000 IU for a 150 pound person. Check with a health
care provider knowledgeable in vitamin D supplementation.
4. Vitamin C: is a boost of sunshine found in such foods as citrus fruits (i.e:
oranges, grapefruits), sweet red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli.
Vitamin C acts primarily in cellular fluid. Vitamin C scavenges free radicals
and cleans up waste products. In addition to its anti-oxidative activities,
vitamin C benefits many other body functions. Vitamin C is necessary for the
synthesis of collagen, which is an important component in the structural make up
of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Vitamin C also plays an
important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters and norepinephrine.
Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood.
Vitamin C, even in small amounts, can protect molecules in the body, such as
proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) from damage by
Linus Pauling, Ph.D, a leading researcher of vitamin C and two-time winner of
the Nobel Prize, advised adults to take 2 to 10 grams per day. People require at
least 60mgs of vitamin C per day in order to prevent scurvy. The optimal amount
of vitamin C is closer to 400 to 3,000 mg per day, in divided doses, more if the
body is under stress.
5. Zinc: is an essential trace mineral. Zinc is included in most daily vitamin
and mineral supplements. It's antioxidant properties protect against accelerated
aging of the skin and muscles and helps speed up the healing process from colds,
flu or after an injury.
Zinc gluconate glycine and zinc acetate are used in throat lozenges or tablets
to reduce the duration and the severity of cold symptoms.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 9 mg/day for women and 14 mg/day for
men. The most zinc is found in red meats, especially beef, lamb, liver, wheat
(germ and bran) and various seeds (sesame, poppy, alfalfa, celery, mustard).
Zinc is also found in beans, nuts, almonds, whole grains, pumpkin seeds,
sunflower seeds and blackcurrant.
6. Exercise: is a perfect mood booster! Exercise is what your body instinctively
wants to do especially under stress: fight or flight, and it works. It burns off
some of the stress chemicals which tension produces. Therefore, a tired muscle
is a relaxed muscle. Regular exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle
stress. Regular exercise is especially helpful for individuals suffering from
mental health conditions involving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
It is more beneficial to do exercise outdoors, as sunlight is the key to
7. Try a light box: Light and color have been valued throughout history as
sources of healing. Today, the therapeutic applications of light and color are
being investigated in major hospitals and research centers worldwide. Results
indicate that full-spectrum, ultraviolet, colored, and laser light can have
therapeutic value for a range of conditions from chronic pain and depression to
The oldest form of light therapy is natural sunlight, which is the ultimate
source of full-spectrum light. For those living in areas that see very little
sunlight this time of year, there are other options; full-spectrum light
therapy, bright light therapy, various forms of UV light therapy, syntonic
optometry, cold laser therapy, and visual color therapy. 10-15 minutes with a
full spectrum light box can easy the mid season blues!
Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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