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Natural Remedies For SAD

December 27, 2023

If you or someone you know suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, you may be considering the different treatment options. While there are many treatments available for SAD, including anti-depressant medications and psychotherapy, some may wish to take a more natural approach.

If you are experiencing minor symptoms of SAD, some natural remedies may be able to help. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor or psychiatrist immediately to discuss the best options for you.

In some cases, these remedies may be combined with traditional treatment methods to better improve your symptoms of SAD.

Light therapy is a natural and highly effective, non-invasive treatment for SAD that includes various light temperatures and times of administration. In research, a combination of morning and evening exposure offers the best results. Other natural remedies for SAD include vitamin D, L-tryptophan, St. John’s wort, and melatonin supplementation [1,2].

A deficiency in vitamin D levels is linked with an increased risk of developing depression. Vitamin D levels can be depleted during seasons of decreased daylight hours, such as wintertime. Eating a diet rich in Vitamin D, or supplementing with vitamin D in those who are deficient may help to treat or reduce SAD symptoms [3].

While it has yet to be proven, many researchers believe SAD may be caused by alterations in certain hormones including melatonin and serotonin. L-tryptophan is an essential precursor to serotonin and some studies have found promise in supplementing L-tryptophan to help with depression symptoms [4].

Additionally, melatonin supplementation may be beneficial to those suffering from SAD, particularly those with winter-pattern seasonal depression due to the alterations in circadian rhythm from changes in daylight hours. While some studies show promise for this, continued research is needed [5,6].

Lastly, St. John’s wort has been tested as a natural remedy for SAD symptoms and may be helpful in boosting mood. However, many of the studies available on this are done with small sample sizes, and further research using larger populations is warranted [7].

If you are considering a natural remedy to help you manage your SAD symptoms, be sure to discuss it with your physician before making any changes. Some supplements may interfere with other medications.