Ah, summertime—the lively teenage phase of the year when the sun extends its warm embrace and the tantalizing aroma of BBQ and charcoal fills the air. Amidst a symphony of fireworks, music, and laughter, a vibrant soundtrack emerges that encapsulates the essence of the season. The popular Lana Del Rey tune, “Summertime Sadness” starts to play over the idyllic scene, however, for some, the song takes on a darker tone. It becomes a harsh reminder of Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, which dampens the vibrancy of the season for those who experience it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is commonly associated with winter months, when days are shorter, colder, and darker. It may come as a surprise that nearly half of those affected by SAD experience the summer blues.
Let’s explore some of the causes, symptoms, and lifestyle choices that can help prevent or reduce the impact of SAD, along with how a lack of essential vitamins can contribute to or even trigger this sneaky form of depression. It's time to shed light on the summertime blues!
According to the American Psychiatric Association, SAD affects about 5% of people worldwide, with symptoms lasting around 40% of the year. Interestingly, Dr. Samar McCutcheon, a psychiatrist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, points out that approximately 30% of individuals with SAD experience its effects specifically during the summer season.
So, how do you know if you're experiencing Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder? Look out for common signs like increased anxiety, irritability, changes in sleep patterns, loss of appetite or weight loss, restlessness, decreased interest in activities, mood swings, and a general sense of decreased well-being.
While the exact causes of Summer SAD are still being explored, several factors are believed to contribute to its development. Changes in routines, longer days, social gatherings, and vacations can disrupt your mental equilibrium. Additionally, reduced sun exposure from staying indoors to avoid the heat can result in lower vitamin D levels, potentially leading to long-term depression. Sunlight plays a crucial role in regulating your internal body clock and balancing hormones and neurotransmitters that impact your mood.
How to Beat Summer SADness
When addressing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms, consider making vital lifestyle adjustments. Changing your daily routine can be crucial for improving overall well-being and mental health. Prioritize self-care and embrace these practices to unlock positive transformations in your life.
Find intentional time throughout the day, especially if you have a desk job, to move your body. Consider incorporating time-efficient high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts or simple strengthening activities performed intermittently throughout the day.
Take breaks in the morning or during lunch to enjoy sunlight exposure. Sunlight is crucial for your body and vitamin D production and natural light is an essential mood booster.
Changing your daily routine offers multiple benefits. Small adjustments like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand can positively impact mood and mental health. Create consistent sleep patterns and plan your day ahead of time to reduce stress and anxiety.
Allocate time each day to appreciate the positive aspects of your life, no matter how small. Gratitude exercises, such as journaling, activate brain areas associated with well-being.
Engaging in mindfulness techniques can quickly improve well-being. Regular meditation increases gray matter density in brain regions involved in attention, memory, and emotional regulation. Simple breathing exercises like the "4-7-8" technique can calm the mind and reduce anxiety in just a few minutes.
Vitamin D | "The Sunshine Vitamin"
Sunlight is like a superhero when it comes to our well-being, especially because it helps our bodies make vitamin D. But here's the thing: even in the sunny summer season, we can still experience vitamin D deficiency, which can contribute to feeling down. Spending too much time indoors, slathering on sunscreen, and being stuck at a desk can lead to low vitamin D levels. And guess what? Research has found a strong connection between low vitamin D and increased risk of depression. In fact, a study showed that 50% of people had mildly deficient vitamin D, and a whopping 30% of individuals with depression had severely low levels.
Thankfully, there's a solution that can bring a sunny boost to your life. Vitamin D supplementation offers ample benefits. It helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite by influencing serotonin production. It even has anti-inflammatory properties and helps balance your immune system, which can reduce inflammation and the risk of depression. Plus, having enough vitamin D is important for your brain to work optimally, especially in those mood-regulating regions.
Want to beat the summertime SADness? Look no further than the power of B vitamins! Studies have shown that deficiencies in B vitamins, such as B6, B9 (folate), and B12, can increase the risk of depression. These vitamins are essential for mood regulation and brain health, making them your new summertime buddies for managing SAD symptoms.
Vitamin B6 is crucial for synthesizing neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that regulate mood. Inadequate B6 levels can disrupt the balance of these neurotransmitters, potentially leading to depressive symptoms. Deficiencies in specific B vitamins, including B6, B9 (folate), and B12, have been linked to an increased risk of depression due to their roles in brain health and mood regulation. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is particularly important for serotonin and neurotransmitter production related to mood regulation. Low folate levels are associated with a higher risk of depression. According to the NIH, 22% of the depressed population had a deficiency in vitamin B12, while 36% had low normal levels. Vitamin B12 is crucial for nervous system function and red blood cell production, and deficiencies can impact neurotransmitter synthesis and metabolism, contributing to depression.
Pure Essentials Recommendations
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- Pure Essentials 2 & Ultra B-12
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Let Pure Essentials help you lean into a timeless summer truth:
Life’s a Beach!
While summer is typically associated with happiness and sunshine, it's essential to acknowledge that some individuals may experience summer blues or seasonal affective disorder. By recognizing the potential impact of vitamin deficiencies and adopting lifestyle changes, it’s possible to alleviate symptoms and fully enjoy the delights of summer. Remember to seek personalized advice from a healthcare professional.
Beat Summer SADness and enjoy the pleasure of this season!