Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to feel[email protected]aminer.ie or send a letter to: Feelgood, Irish Examiner, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork
I find it difficult to get through long winter nights. I work office hours which means it’s dark when I get home. I don’t think I suffer from SAD but I notice my energy levels are higher during the summer. What would you recommend? >> SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) does not necessarily need to manifest as depressive episodes. There are a number of symptoms that fall under the definition of SAD. Ranging from increased appetite, sweet cravings, and weight gain, through to fatigue, energy slumps in the afternoon and evening, and an increased desire for sleeping longer and later than usual, these symptoms are often brushed aside.
However, even if it is not SAD you are experiencing, the recommendations for this disorder can help everyone to cope with the colder months and shorter days.
Hormones and brain chemicals controlling mood and sleeping patterns are the first place to begin. Serotonin regulates sleep patterns, body temperature, appetite, libido and emotions. You can boost production of this important hormone by eating a highprotein snack about two hours before bedtime. Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone and not a vitamin, is essential to getting us through the winter months. Levels of vitamin D drop significantly due to the lack of availability with decreased daylight hours.
You can store vitamin D to help ward off symptoms of SAD. You only need two sunshine hours per week, and even overcast days where you don’t actually see the sun will provide enough exposure to make this important hormone.
Getting a small daily dose of natural light is not only crucial to our wellbeing, the vitamin D it helps to create is also essential for the maintenance of strong, healthy bones, and plays an important role in the regulation of skin cell growth. If getting two hours a week of natural light is difficult to achieve. then you can supplement with vitamin D3. Take as directed on the label. My teenage daughter developed glandular fever about nine months ago. While she is thankfully over the symptoms, she has very little energy — school leaves her exhausted. Is there a herb or supplement she could take? >> It is a real blow to struggle with something like glandular fever during your teenage years.
Your daughter will have recovered from the fever, sore throat, fatigue and body aches that typically occur with glandular fever, however, the tender swollen lymph nodes might still be present. Lymph nodes or glands work to eliminate infection from the body, so they become enlarged as they attempt to fight off the virus responsible.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is thought to be the culprit in most cases of glandular fever, which is why my first recommendation is to get her some Elderberry capsules or extract. Elderberry has powerful antiviral properties and has been shown to specifically destroy the EBV. Many health professionals believe that this same virus is responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
A diet rich in wholefoods with a focus on plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and nutritious broths, soups, and smoothies is important so her body is being loaded with nutrients in their most simple form. Getting plenty of rest and not over-exercising is also important.
Glandular fever affects the immune system, with a much higher susceptibility to every cough, cold, and ’flu. Simba, from The Little Herbal Company, works by regulating the immune system instead of simply boosting it. Simba is made from a tuber called hypoxis hemerocallidea, or the African Potato. This remedy has been treasured in Africa for many generations as a traditional medicine to treat a number of conditions, especially where compromised immunity causes a significant drop in energy levels.
Take one capsule three times daily on an empty stomach (for maximum benefit this should be up to 30 minutes before or two hours after food). It costs €33.15 for 90 capsules , but it is more cost effective to buy three or more bottles (see littleherbal-international.co.nz).