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Independent health store advice on seasonal affective disorder

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of expertise. This month we talk to Daniela Lupu, manager of Natural Health Options in Stanmore

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is a type of depression that affects many people during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight.

During the winter, at Natural Health Options, we tend to get enquiries from our customers about low mood and anxiety, which can be related back to the shorter days and colder weather. If a customer came to us for advice about a health issue like this then we would initially ask what ailments they might be suffering with and if they are on any medication for them. We would also ask about sleep patterns and quality of sleep. We would enquire about their dietary habits to ensure that blood sugars are balanced by eating more complex carbohydrates and reducing caffeine consumption. We would then ask how much exercise they do and how active they are as maintaining routines is important when tackling the symptoms of SAD.

Natural products

In terms of natural products for Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are several things that might help. We would start by helping the customer to improve the quality of their sleep, and for that we would recommend magnesium or Montmorency cherry juice, which contains natural melatonin, the hormone needed by the body for restful sleep. Magnesium is a nerve and muscle relaxant and can help with improving deep sleep, which in turn could help you to wake up fresher and with more energy and vigour. Vitamin B complex is another supplement that could help as it helps to improve physiological and neurological functioning. Fish oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can be added to the mix as they are very good brain foods.

Help for low mood

Vitamin D would definitely be added to the mix as in the northern hemisphere we miss out on this vital vitamin in the winter and it might be what could be causing some of the symptoms. St John’s Wort is an over-the-counter remedy for low mood and could be used to counter some of the symptoms of SAD. 5-HTP is another remedy that could also be used to help alleviate low mood.

If the customer is open to homeopathy, we would advise that they seek the help of a professional homeopath. This is because there are so many remedies available and they would benefit from guidance from a professional, who can advise on the best options for their particular constitution.

Additional things that may help with Seasonal Affective Disorder include using a lightbox to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms. Aromatherapy oils could be beneficial to improve mood, while music and dance could help with serotonin levels. Good company is always positive, so time spent with family, friends and pets may help to alleviate low mood. Fresh air and exercise is always a given for positive energy.

Natural Health Options

This natural health store and complementary therapy clinic is based at 4 Buckingham Parade, The Broadway, Stanmore. It has been established for 24 years in total, with 15 years at the current location in Stanmore. The store stocks a wide range of whole foods, health foods, natural beauty products and vitamins, minerals and supplements.

For more information, call the store on 020 8420 7200 or follow them on Facebook

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