Don’t be SAD
Turn to food to fight seasonal affective disorder, writes Nutri-Genetix VP Olga Hamilton
One in three people suffer from SAD, a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. And with 2020’s lockdowns and restrictions, some of us have been getting even less outdoor exposure than usual.
People with seasonal affective disorder have difficulty regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is thought to be linked to SERT – a protein that carries serotonin (higher SERT levels lead to lower serotonin activity). SERT is inhibited by the sunlight, which means it’s lower during summer – so serotonin levels are higher. Conversely, higher levels of SERT during the winter months are believed to reduce the available serotonin. On top of that, people with SAD may also produce less vitamin D – shown to affect serotonin levels – with less outdoor exposure to sunlight in winter.
Fortunately, there are some strategies for keeping the SADness at bay as the dark days roll on…