Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD Causes Wintertime Depression

Are you SAD? …That’s suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder – which by the way really can make you feel sad in these dark winter days. To help you out, we turned to an expert in SAD, Jim LaValle. Jim has so many qualifications; we’ll let him introduce himself. Jim.

“Jim LaValle, Critical Pharmacist, Sports Certified Clinical Nutritionist, I’m the CEO of Metabolic Code Enterprises” said LaValle. “I educate physicians, health care providers and work in the fitness industry as well, to teach people how to maximize their metabolism, and understand the forces that are working on why you feel the way you feel. And what we’re going to talk about today is Seasonal Affective Disorder and how it is affecting a great deal of Americans and how they may not even be realizing it.”

I asked Jim if the “Seasonal” term in SAD means the dead of winter, and he let me know that is incorrect. Jim.

“Well it’s really from fall, when the time changes” said LaValle. “So when you get up in the morning and it’s dark, and you know when you get out of work it’s dark, so Seasonal Affective disorder literally lasts from basically from November into April for a lot of people.”

Jim, what are the symptoms of SAD, and how do you know you suffer from it?

“There was a really interesting article that was posted in the Mayo Clinic Newsletter that talked about the fact that people craved more carbohydrates; they gained weight; they get hypersensitive to rejection, meaning they get agitated and irritable more easily; and then they oversleep and that all of those things, Irritability, carbohydrate craving, weight gain, oversleeping actually energy slumps and feeling heavy in your limbs as well. All of those things can mean you are slipping into Seasonal Affective Disorder which is actually categorized as a form of depression.”

What causes this disorder, Jim?

“What they finally figured out is (that) you are supposed to release serotonin into a free space between your neurons and that serotonin is supposed to help you feel good and feel satisfied and not crave carbs” said LaValle. “Well, when you have Seasonal Affective Disorder and the sunlight’s not hitting your eyes, there’s a subset of people where that serotonin gets taken back up and isn’t available for use. And when your serotonin drops, it’s a form of depression.”

Jim offers some suggestions about steps you can take if you feel like you have SAD. The first thing he suggested is to get your vitamin D levels checked, maybe buy a light box which mimics sunlight, watch your diet to avoid carbohydrates. Jim suggests the following nutrition supplement to help with carb control.

“You really need to look at managing your carbs” said LaValle. “But during the holidays it can be tough, so I love when people use white kidney bean extract, it’s called Phase 2, there are several companies that have Phase 2 as an ingredient in their products. Why I like it is because it reduces about 65% of the unwanted carbohydrates. That’s kind of good! So you don’t get as much of the carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. You’re not going to gain weight there because of that. It helps you manage your carb intake during the holidays. And I think that’s important because people end up putting on 5 pounds during the holidays and they don’t get it off, and before you know it, ten holidays, 10, 20, 30 even 50 pounds – and it happens!”

Jim also recommends exercising to increase your serotonin levels.

“Some kind of exercise of body movement, even light body movement can improve your serotonin levels” said LaValle. “Helps improve circulation, helps improve the firing of your stimulatory neurochemicals in your brain that are going to make you feel good. I think everyone has experienced that when they: ‘Hay I went and that walk, I feel better about myself.’”

Another interesting suggestion Jim makes is cuddling. Jim.

“Think about cuddling more, it’s kind of funny but it’s true, it really does make you happier” LaValle says. “You got a loved one? Give ‘em a hug, cuddle a little bit more. It also strengthens immune system functions, so there is something to being affectionate and repairing anything that needs repaired and cuddle up! And if it’s cold out, it’s going to help you stay worm, so that’s a good thing.”

Jim also suggests that while exercising, taking your vitamin D and kidney bean extract, you might just want to take a winter vacation to the Caribbean or Florida, or anyplace warmer then here.

Happy New Year

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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