Seasonal Affective Disorder - Vitamin B6 Reducing Depression
That time of year is slowly approaching, when the nights quickly pull in and you start slowing down a bit. During these autumn/winter months you might find your energy reducing and yourself becoming a little moodier - this could in fact be seasonal affective disorder.
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD is a type of winter depression that is affected due to changes in season and usually begins and ends around the same time every year. During the summer months, seasonal affective disorder will begin to slow down and only during the winter months will it start rearing its head again. It can be down to something as simply a shortage of a certain brain chemical.
People with SAD may suffer from a certain type of depression so it's important not to brush this off as a bad day or ‘winter blues’, taking steps to keep your mood up during the autumn/winter months can help keep your SAD steady.
Seasonal affective disorder can affect your everyday life and can last for a long period of time. If you think you might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, these are a few of the signs and symptoms of SAD you might be experiencing:
- Feeling sad or down, nearly every day
- Losing interest in the things you once enjoyed
- Having low energy or feeling sluggish
- Sleeping too much, or not being able to sleep
- Overeating or gaining weight
- Not being able to concentrate
- Feeling worthless
What is Vitamin B6 & How can it help SAD?
Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that your body needs for several functions, and because your body doesn’t naturally produce this vitamin, this is when we need to intake foods or supplements to reap the rewards. Vitamin B6 has been shown to help the body produce a specific chemical that inhibits impulses in the brain, this calming effect will help reduce anxiety and levels of depression.
Other Benefits of Vitamin B6
Here are some of the additional health benefits of Vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 may also play a role in decreasing high blood levels of amino acid, which is linked to depression and low moods. One in 250 adults found that deficiency in Vitamin B6 doubled the likelihood of suffering from depression.
Promote Brain Health:
Vitamin B6 may help promote brain health by lowering homocysteine levels. High levels of this protein in the body has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline.
Recent studies have shown the link between low levels of vitamin B6 and anaemia. Vitamin B6 is helpful in preventing and treating anaemia and fatigue, caused by deficiency.
Help Nausea in Pregnancy:
For many years Vitamin B6 has been used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women and also ensures a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that 342 women in their first 17 weeks of pregnancy found that their daily dose of Vitamin B6 significantly reduced feelings of nausea after 5 days.
Reduce Heart Disease:
If you take a daily dose of Vitamin B6 you may prevent clogged arteries and minimise heart disease risk. Vitamin B6 plays a role in decreasing homocysteine levels associated with several diseases, including heart disease.
Other ways to combat SAD:
There are a number of things you can do to help improve your symptoms:
- Try to get as much natural sunlight as possible – even a brief lunchtime walk can be beneficial
- Make your work and home environments as light and airy as possible
- Sit near windows when you're indoors
- Take plenty of regular exercise, particularly outdoors and in daylight – read more about exercise for depression
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- If possible, avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress
- It can also be helpful to talk to your family and friends about SAD, so they understand how your mood changes during the winter. This can help them to support you more effectively.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that the way we think and behave affects the way we feel. Changing the way you think about situations and what you do about them can help you feel better.
If you have CBT, you'll have a number of sessions with a specially trained therapist, usually over several weeks or months. Your programme could be:
- An individual programme of self-help
- A programme designed for you and your partner (if your depression is affecting your relationship)
- A group programme that you complete with other people in a similar situation
- A computer-based CBT programme tailored to your needs and supported by a trained therapist
Do you feel as though you need to up your Vitamin B6 consumption? Here at Nutravita, we stock a wide range of different vitamins and supplements for different needs. Check out our range of vitamins for mood, relaxation, anxiety and sleep here.