SUFFERING FROM SAD AND LACK OF ENERGY DURING THE WINTER MONTHS….

We all lack energy from time to time but if it doesn’t improve then you should see your GP.

There are a number of conditions that can leave you feeling lethargic. Iron levels are one of the first things that can affect energy levels and cause tiredness.

An under-active thyroid is another cause of tiredness and the falling hormone levels that occur at the menopause.

Fatigue can also be a sign of diabetes.

If you are suffering from SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) this can also cause fatigue.

As well as the above, some medications can also cause lethargy, including beta blockers, some antihistamines, codeine-based painkillers and also some antidepressants. Also some sleeping tablets may help to get you through the night, some can cause daytime fatigue.

Of course, anxiety, stress and depression are also triggers for sapping energy levels. The best course of action is to go and visit your GP.

At this time of year one in eight of us can suffer from winter blues and one in 50 of us suffer from SAD through lack of sunlight.

Symptoms of SAD include fatigue and depression.

Its the sunlight that tells your brain to produce serotonin, which is needed to boost our mood and energy. Lack of it as autumn turns to winter causes an increase in the production of melatonin (which makes us sleepy) and a reduction in serotonin is what can cause depression.

One of the most obvious ways to treat SAD is to get outside in the daylight for at least 20 minutes a day but you can also invest in a light box. Light therapy is the most effective way of decreasing the symptoms. Also it is believed that eating foods rich in an amino acid called tryptophan increases the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Also they say that Australian research found that taking vitamin D supplements for only five days in late winter improved the mood of people with SAD. It can also prevent osteoporosis, support immunity and regulate weight. Of course the best way to get Vitamin D is through the effects of sunlight on bare skin. Amazingly they say that Vitamin D lasts for 60 days in the body so if you’ve been away for your annual holiday in the summer, it will mean your levels should be fine until November.

Other sources of Vitamin D can be found in oily fish and eggs, cheese and poultry.

Research also suggests that eating carb-rich foods helps the brain take up tryptophan. You can also find supplements and The Food Agency recommends taking 10mcg a day.

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8 NATURAL REMEDIES TO HELP WITH FATIGUE…

1. If you are suffering from a case of afternoon slumps then eat or smell peppermint. It is known to wake up and help decrease fatigue. In fact research at the University of Northumbria found that in a test involving word recall, peppermint-gum chewer’s scores were up to 36% higher than non-chewers.

2. They also say that Siberian Ginseng which has been around for centuries is known for its anti-fatigue qualities. It acts like a tonic, which can then increase the body’s vital energy. Anyone taking antidepressants, diabetes, or blood clotting medication should consult their physician first.

3.Vitamin B12 is also popular and it is naturally found in fish, dairy produce, organ meats, beef, pork and is water soluble.Vitamin B12 contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism, functioning of the nervous system, homocysteine metabolism, psychological function, red blood cell formation and function of the immune system. You can also buy it in tablet form from Holland and Barrett and other good chemists.

4.Graded Exercise Therapy. Studies have repeatedly shown that graded exercise therapy helps those with CFS.

5. Sleep of course is a natural remedy for fatigue.. People with CFS often have broken or disordered sleep and may even suffer from insomnia. Going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day. Avoiding naps in the day (although I cannot manage without mine) and taking time to relax before you go to bed.

6. Licorice root, in standardized form, is a commonly used natural remedy for chronic fatigue. This herb, which helps regulate normal system function and allows your body to better cope with stress, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. To help restore cortisol levels, look for standardized licorice root in extract or pill form. Speak to your physician if you take blood thinners, potassium, or blood pressure medications as interactions can occur.

7. The NHS add that a good way to keep up your energy through the day is to eat regular meals and healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours, rather than a large meal less often.

8. Cut out caffeine, the NHS say try to stay off caffeine completely for a month to see if you feel less tired without it.