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Supplements for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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  1. Supplements for Seasonal Affective Disorder By June Saxton 12/2/2013

  2. This information is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult with your physician regarding any of your health issues and concerns. Disclaimer

  3. SAD is mainly a seasonal depressive disorder which develops in the late autumn or early winter and subsides in the spring. • Individuals with SAD experience fatigue, hypersomnia and increased appetite prior to developing depressive symptoms. • The rate of serotonin is lowest in the winter which can affect mood. • Individuals affected seem to have an increased production of melatonin. (Roecklein & Rohan, 2005). What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

  4. Exercise and light therapy have been shown to be very effective treatments for SAD, especially morning outdoor exercise. • In addition, several supplements can be used to help with the disorder. (Roecklein & Rohan, 2005) Treatment

  5. “The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the likelihood of having depression in people with vitamin D deficiency is significantly higher compared to those whose levels are sufficient.” (Gullotti, 2011). • Many experts believe that at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D is needed per day to avoid deficiency. Caution should be taken to avoid mega dosing. Doses should not exceed 20,000 IU from all sources (Schlenker & Roth, 2011). Vitamin D

  6. St. John’s Wort has been widely used as a treatment for depression. It has been called “Nature’s Prozac”. Several studies have shown that it is as effective as anti-depressant drugs. It appears to support serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These studies show that the clinical effects of St. John’s Wort on depression correspond with its Hyperforin content (Moore, Goodwin, Jones, Wisley, Serabit-Singh, Willson, Collins & Kliewer, 2000). • The Hyperforin and adhyperforin which is found in the reproductive parts of the plant are the two constituents which may responsible for St. John’s Wort’s antidepressive properties (Skidmore-Roth, 2011). • St. John’s Wort should not be given to children and those who are on anti-depressants (Skidmore-Roth, 2011). St. John’s Wort

  7. SAM-e has been available by prescription in Europe as an anti-depressant for many years . SAM-e has been tested as an anti-depressant because of its role in making neurotransmitters. Several studies which have been conducted for depression both in the United States and in Europe show that SAM-e is more effective than anti-depressants and significantly more effective than a placebo and that the side effects are mild and transient. Therefore, SAM-e may be a good alternative for people who suffer from the hypersomnia associated with SAD because it produces alertness (Sahelian, n.d.) • SAM-e should not be used during pregnancy or nursing, by children or by persons with bipolar disorder or Parkinson’s disease (Skidmore-Roth, 2011). SAM-e

  8. Consuming plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids may have a powerful effect on the depression associated with SAD. According to a large Norwegian study; those who took cod-liver oil, which is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, were about 30% less likely to suffer from depression than those who did not. The longer they took it the better the result (Barclay, 2007). Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  9. Magnesium is essential for good health because it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions including serotonin production, nerve function and energy metabolism (Office of Dietary Supplements, n.d.) • Two recent studies show that magnesium supplementation might prevent depression and could be used in addition to anti-depressants (Time for Wellness, 2013). • Magnesium should not be taken with antacids or laxatives containing magnesium because of the danger of magnesium toxicity. People with kidney failure should not take magnesium supplements because they will not be able to remove any excess magnesium (Skidmore & Roth, 2011). Magnesium

  10. The supplements mentioned in this presentation were chosen because they support the depressive symptoms of SAD and are mood enhancers, support normal nerve function, supply nutrients essential for serotonin production, nerve function, energy metabolism, immune and neuromuscular function(Roecklein & Rohan, 2005). Conclusion

  11. In addition the references listed on the following two slides, a couple of other good sources for further information are: • Rosenthal, N. E. (2013). Books. Retrieved from Dr. Rosenthal first described and researched SAD. He is the author of the most popular book on the topic. He is also the author of a book on using St. John’s Wort for the treatment of depression. • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2011, December). Depression and complementary health practices. Retrieved from This site is a good source to go to for the latest research on complementary health practices. Where to find more information

  12. References Barclay, L. (2007, October). Fighting depression and improving cognition with omega-3 fatty acids. Retrieved from Gullotti, J. (2011, December 22). Vitamins and herbs: Don't let the winter blues make you sad!. Retrieved from!&id=6774639 Moore, L. B., Goodwin, B., Jones, S. A., Wisley, B. G., Serabit-Singh, C. J., Willson, T. M., Collins, J. L., & Kliewer, S. A. (2000, April 26). St. John’s wort induces hepatic drug metabolism through activation of the pregnane x receptor. Retrieved from Office of Dietary Supplements. (n.d.). Dietary supplement fact sheet: magnesium. Retrieved from

  13. References (continued) Roecklein, K. A., & Rohan, K. J. (2005, January). Seasonal affective disorder. Retrieved from Sahelian, R. (n.d.). Sam-e supplement benefits. Retrieved from Schlenker, E. D., & Roth, S. L. (2011). Williams' essentials of nutrition and diet therapy. (Tenth ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby. Skidmore-Roth, L. (2011). Mosby’s handbook of herbs & natural supplements. (4 ed.). St. Louis: Mosby. Time for Wellness. (2012, October). Magnesium for depression. Retrieved from