If you’re one of the roughly 13 million Americans who deals with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), chances are, your symptoms are likely to be hitting their peak. Read on to learn more about what this common condition entails and the best seasonal affective disorder supplements you can take to help combat it.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression, is a type of depression that directly correlates to the changing of the seasons. Though it’s typically seen in the fall and winter months, SAD is far more than a case of the “winter blues.” According to the American Psychiatric Association, SAD can be linked to “a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.”
What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?
If you’re wondering whether or not you might have seasonal affective disorder, there are a couple of signs and symptoms you should be on the lookout for. Symptoms of SAD include, but are not limited to, feelings of depression, low energy, sleeping problems, and weight gain.
While there are many forms of treatment out there, from light therapy lamps to cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the most common forms is supplementation.
Best Supplements for Seasonal Affective Disorder
As always, it’s important to talk to your doctor before adding any new supplements to your daily regimen to make sure they’re right for you. If you’ve already taken this step and are ready to try them out, we’ve rounded up seven options that may just be your saving grace this winter. Keep scrolling to learn more about Woman’s World’s picks for the best supplements for seasonal affective disorder on the market today.
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Best Supplement for Mood
Love Wellness #Mood Pills
Where to buy: $24.99, ULTA
For the ultimate mood-boosting supplement, pick up a bottle of Love Wellness' Mood Pills. Formulated specifically to tackle irregular changes in your mood (like those associated with SAD), this pill contains a powerful blend of ingredients that have been shown to help lift your spirits naturally. St. John's Wort is the star of the show here, but it's far from the only mood-lifting powerhouse, with anxiety-reliever ginkgo biloba, menopause wonder chasteberry, and serotonin boosters L-Theanine and vitamin B6 all making an appearance. And, with every ingredient organically sourced, you can feel good knowing that what you're putting in your body will be good for you in every way.
Best Vitamin D Supplement
NatureWise Vitamin D3
Where to buy: $16.05, Amazon
One of the most common supplements taken for seasonal affective disorder is vitamin D. Known as the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D is something your body makes naturally when exposed to sunlight. In the dark and dreary days of fall and winter, however, sunlight can be hard to come by. As a result, many find their vitamin D levels at a yearly low. Luckily, studies show an improvement in SAD symptoms with vitamin D supplementation.
Easy-to-swallow and cold-pressed in organic olive oil, NatureWise's vitamin D3 supplement provides 5,000 IUs of your daily recommend vitamin D intake, making a brighter day just one pill away.
Best Fish Oil Supplement
New Chapter Wholemega Fish Oil
Where to buy: $13.17 (Originally $21.95), Amazon
The benefits of fish oil supplements on the body have long been touted, but did you know they're also great for your mood? According to one study out of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, participants with a higher amount of omega-3's in their system were less likely to report feelings or symptoms associated with depression.
While you can get your omega-3's from foods such as salmon, leafy green vegetables, and certain nuts, you can't go wrong with New Chapter's Wholemega Fish Oil supplement. Sourced from responsibly- and sustainably-caught wild Alaskan salmon, it's not only chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, it contains a healthy dose of antioxidant astaxanthin and vitamin D3 for a well-rounded daily supplement.
Best B12 Supplement
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw B12
Where to buy: $12.59 Amazon
If there's one vitamin on this list that's likely to already have a spot in your medicine cabinet, it's B12. You've probably heard about the benefits of B12 in association with heart health, but it's also one of the most vital vitamins for brain health. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions."
To continue feeling your best all season long, add Garden of Life's raw, vegan-friendly Vitamin Code B12 supplement to your regimen. In addition to B12, it's also infused with a raw probiotic blend for additional gut health, making it one supplement everyone should be taking.
Best Cacao Supplement
Swanson's Full Spectrum Cacao
Where to buy: $5.73, Amazon
Cacao is well-known for its positive effects on memory, but that's not the only part of the brain chocolate can work its magic on. As it turns out, cacao is also superb for your mood. One 2013 study found that as a result of chocolate's naturally high polyphenol content, participants who participated in its supplementation reported a vastly-improved mood.
While it may be tempting to simply pick up your favorite candy bar as a way to get your cacao fix, that sadly won't cut it — the raw stuff, like that found in Swanson's full spectrum cacao supplement, is what you need to do the trick.
Best Folic Acid Supplement
Nature Made's Folic Acid
Where to buy: $15.87 (Originally $18.57), Amazon
Another popular brain-boosting vitamin recommended for those with mood disorders, like seasonal affective disorder, is folic acid. Research has shown that folic acid is integral for proper brain function, specifically with regard to the natural development of S-adenosylmethionine (also known as SAM-e) — a crucial compound produced by the body for the formation of "happy hormones" serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Add some folic acid to your life with Nature Made's folic acid supplement, which has no artificial flavors or preservatives.
Best St Johns Wort Supplement
Health Harmony's St. John's Wort
Where to buy: $13.97, Amazon
St. John's Wort, also known as hypericum, is worth looking into if you're looking for a holistic approach to dealing with your seasonal affective disorder. While there is still testing to be done, preliminary studies have shown promising results as far as its benefits go for sufferers of SAD, with participants reporting improved mood and better sleep with proper supplementation. Load up on SJW with Health Harmony's non-GMO St. John's Wort supplement.