Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) typically occurs in the winter months as exposure to sunlight becomes limited and vitamin D and B12 levels decrease. With daylight hours decreasing everyday, consumers who are affected with SAD may be searching for natural and holistic remedies to assist them in lessening the symptoms they are experiencing. Natural remedies that are being popularized are inclusive of eating the right types of foods, taking specific vitamin supplements and undergoing light treatment therapy.

Taking a vitamin supplement may be the quickest and easiest way for some consumers to combat these lower levels of vitamins in their system. Vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and cod liver oil are most associated with mitigating seasonal deficiencies. The NIH recommends a daily dose of 600 IU of Vitamin D for people ages 1–70, however those affected by SAD may be looking for increments of 1000- 2000 IU (1).

As with taking medications, supplements can sometimes have a contraindicative bearing with other prescribed medications leading people to be cautious about trying them. It is often wise for customers to consult with a physician prior to beginning a supplement regimen. There are some consumers who may look to heighten their moods through diet. Although eating a balanced diet of natural and organic foods may be one of the best ways to be in top health, many people struggle to do this and do not have the time and energy to eat perfectly. Therefore, those people coping with SAD may hone in on foods touted as being high in Vitamins D, Omega 3’s and B12. Fruits and vegetables such as fortified orange juice, dark leafy greens, mushrooms as well as fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), are full of these necessary vitamins.

Light therapy has become more popular in recent years as an alternative treatment for SAD. The bulbs utilized within the light therapy box do not use skin damaging UV light and sizes and prices of the boxes vary to be accommodating to a wide consumer spectrum. The recommended 10,000 lux bulbs can be sold separately and some are interchangeable and compatible with different light therapy box brands. This could also be an excellent opportunity for community involvement. Organize weekend field trips like hikes that expose people to sunlight and provide exercise, giving them the necessary boost.

Seasonal affective disorder impacts approximately 4-26% of people throughout the winter months (2). As the natural and organic food market grows, so too does alternative treatments to counter the influence of it. Having these items in store could be beneficial to consumers.WF

References1. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, “Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals,”, accessed Dec. 6, 2016. 2. American Family Physician, “Information from Your Family Doctor: Seasonal Affective Disorder,”, accessed Dec. 6, 2016.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine January 2017