We’ve spent a lot of time at Sanus talking about the effects of low dopamine but there is another neurotransmitter that is also critically important to brain—and overall—health. It’s called serotonin.
As with dopamine, serotonin also impacts every part of your body. While it is probably more widely associated with mood stabilization, it also helps with regulating sleep, eating and digestion. It also contributes to maintaining healthy bones and helps heal wounds.
Today, we’re going to look at serotonin and winter blues. Winter blues is actually a real thing, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (no irony lost on that acronym).
Research studies in 1989, 1990, 1997 and 1999 suggest that serotonin levels actually vary from season-to-season, with the lowest levels found in December and January. Researchers found that serotonin production is dependent on exposure to sunlight. Because the number of hours a day we see the sun during the winter is limited, serotonin turnover in your brain decreases significantly in the winter.
SAD is a depression that shows up during the same season every year. While it is most common in the winter, some people can experience SAD in the summer, too.
Well, anyone can but these groups are more likely that others:
Keep in mind these are the most common, but not a complete list of symptoms, and they would generally occur at the same time each year (usually in the winter), then go away until the same time the following year.
There are natural ways to keep symptoms of SAD under control. Here are few of my favorites.
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