Known in the medical field as Season Affective Disorder (SAD), winter depression is a mental condition in which people experience a depressed mood during the winter months.
The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can mimic those of major depressive disorder and can include:
- decreased energy,
- increased appetite,
- increased need or desire for sleep,
- loss of interest in usually pleasurable or fulfilling activities,
- cravings for carbohydrates,
- irritability, and
- weight gain.
The winter months are characterized by shorter days, decreased sunlight, colder temperatures and increased time indoors.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunlight hormone” because it is produced when our skin is exposed to the sun. When exposure to sunlight is limited, aka winter months, levels of Vitamin D are naturally lowered, eventually resulting in deficiency.
Vitamin D naturally boosts serotonin, the “happiness brain chemical”. If you or a person near you shows signs of depression have your blood vitamin D levels checked. Ideally your vitamin D levels should be between 40-60 ml. If your vitamin D levels are lower than 30 ng/ ml, supplementing with vitamin D is necessary to avoid depression and other health risks such as autoimmune diseases, respiratory infections and even cancer.