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Another year, another end of daylight saving time. Discover the risks of SAD and vitamin D deficiency this season.
The end of daylight saving time for the year means it is time to set your clocks back an hour. It also means we are well into fall and quickly approaching winter.
As we transition into a new time and darker months, you might start to slow down and feel slightly off. This isn’t your imagination; the various effects of seasons changing can impact your mental and physical health.
SAD is a form of depression that is driven by the seasons. It most commonly occurs over the dark fall and winter months. The risk is higher for those living further from the equator (less sun in the winter) or individuals with a history of depression.1
Though the exact cause of SAD is not clear, specific factors to do with shorter, darker days with less sunlight may be involved:2
Common symptoms of SAD include chronic fatigue, trouble concentrating, disinterest, anxiety, sadness, decreased sex drive, social withdrawal, appetite changes and more.6 Possible treatment options for SAD range from psychotherapy and antidepressants to light therapy and certain dietary supplements.7
With Daylight Savings and the oncoming lack of sunlight, it is also essential to remember vitamin D. What is the correlation? Our body can synthesize vitamin D when our skin comes in contact with direct sunlight.8 As it is hard to get adequate amounts from foods containing vitamin D, lack of sunlight can impact our levels of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption in your body, which is particularly important for bone health. Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause brittle bone conditions like rickets and osteomalacia, as well as a weakened immune system.9 Vitamin D might be most well-known for its importance in bone health, but it may also play a role in mental health. Though a causal relationship has not been established, vitamin D does interact with our serotonin levels.1011
Support your physical and mental health during these darker months by closely monitoring your vitamin D levels with imaware’s Vitamin D Monitoring test. If you are running low on vitamin D, vitamin supplements might be the right solution for you.12 However, it is important to remember that any supplement should be taken with precaution.
This winter, remember to get out into the sunshine when you have the chance, look into vitamin D supplements and keep an eye on yourself and your loved ones.