Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that is triggered by the reduced amount of sunlight during the winter months. As days get shorter and colder, we tend to spend less time outside in the sun. Unfortunately, this can create significant deficiencies in Vitamin D. By increasing Vitamin D intake, you can reduce the severity of a SAD bout. Here are four ways you can get some Vitamin D this winter.
Purchase a Vitamin D Light
Vitamin D lights are becoming more and more popular. They’re easily accessible online and are proven to be an effective way to increase vitamin d intake. These lights emit a certain wavelength of light which boosts your levels of Vitamin D without exposing you to harmful UV rays. In fact, some studies have shown that spending as little as 15 minutes under a Vitamin D light each day can make SAD symptoms more manageable, and even potentially prevent SAD from occurring altogether.
Adjust Your Diet
Incorporate foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D.
A plethora of foods are naturally high in Vitamin D. While this list is by no means comprehensive, here are several foods that contain Vitamin D:
- Fresh and canned fish, like tuna or salmon
As a bonus, most of the foods on the list above are rich in other nutrients. If you feel better overall and you’re fueling your body well, it might be easier to fight off the blues.
Try foods and drinks that are fortified with Vitamin D.
Certain foods, like breads, cereal, juices and milk, are fortified with Vitamin D. Fortified foods are labelled as such so you don’t need to wonder if you’ve bought the right kind. If you’re not able to make significant changes to your diet you might be able to up your Vitamin D intake simply by switching brands.
Take a Vitamin D Supplement
When all else fails, Vitamin D supplements can stabilize your levels. In most cases, 500-1,000 IUs of Vitamin D can help resolve deficiencies, but your best bet is to meet with your doctor to discuss dosage. Your primary care physician can order lab work to determine your starting levels and make sure you’re taking the right amount of Vitamin D. Plus, your doctor might notice other factors that could contribute to seasonal depression, like low iron. If you do end up taking Vitamin D tablets, try to take them with a meal to improve absorption rates.
When you can–get outside.
If we have a day or two of nice weather, try to spend time outside! Most windows actually block UV rays–and the Vitamin D they carry. By spending even 10-15 minutes outside, you can raise your Vitamin D levels. Not only will you absorb Vitamin D from the sun, studies show that being outdoors can improve your mood overall.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can feel overwhelming–but we’re here to help.
It’s not easy to ask for help managing mental health conditions. At Community Access Network, we will never judge you for reaching out. Depression is treatable, and we want to do everything we can to help you feel well. If you suspect you may have SAD, contact us today. We’d love to discuss what options are available to you!