Are You Seasonally Sad? 10 Ways to Know!

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Seasonal Affective Disorder is Not Just a Winter Sport!

♫ ♬ ♪ If your happy and you know it clap your hands…Clap Clap…..If your happy and you know it clap your hands….Clap Clap……If your happy and you know it then your face will surely show it.   If your happy and you know it clap your hands…Clap Clap! ♪ ♫ ♬[1]   What is the opposite of happy?  That’s right!!  SAD.  But, I’m not here to talk about your feelings.  I am here to discuss a far more concerning topic when it comes to the word S.A.D..
What is S.A.D?  The acronym S.A.D. stands for seasonal affective disorder.  “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also know as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summertime sadness, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset where people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the summer or winter.”[2]  The acronym SAD was coined in a brilliant decade, the 80’s, by an MD named Normal Rosenthal.  His early publication on the DIS-EASE gave the acronym SAD quick notoriety in the allopathic world.  He was able to treat the DIS-EASE simply with light therapy!!  In that study, it was concluded that light helped brain wave frequencies to shift gears into delta brain waves, or deep sleep waves. This proved to reduce SAD symptoms!  [Click to Tweet]
Fortunately, I do not suffer from SAD.    I have caught cabin fever a time or two, but have come through it pretty quickly.   Unfortunately though, I do have many patients who suffer from seasonal effects on their neurological systems and their biochemistry.  In fact, SAD affects around 14 million Americans, according to author and SAD specialist Norman Rosenthal, M.D., in his book Winter Blues.[3] People can experience a variety of symptoms associated with SAD.   According to Emily Lockhart,[4] signs may include the following:
  1. Disabling Fatigue
  2. Withdrawal from life
  3. Lack of focus
  4. Sleep Difficulties
  5. Disheartened and Deflated
  6. Muscles and Joint Pain
  7. Irritability
  8. Weight and Appetite
  9. Anxiety
  10. Recklessness
One of the main treatments used is light therapy to help balance the seasonal effects of the disorder.  Many theories exist on why light therapy may help.  What we do know is that light works on the pineal gland of the central nervous system.  Sun-gazing is one way to getting the light needed to help combat the winter or summer blues.   This is an unfamiliar ancient technique according to EarthClinic.[5] Sun gazing, a practice also know as sun eating, is a strict regiment of gradually allowing sunlight into your eyes at specific periods of the day.  [Click to Tweet]  Now don’t take this as an excuse to stare at the sun.  This can actually be harmful to the retina of the eye and cause permanent damage.  This practice must be taught by a competent practitioner to assure you do not damage these sensitive organs.
Proper nutrition and supplementation can also help boost the mood in the winter and hot summer months.   I have found with my patients that Vitamin D is also an excellent vitamin of choice when staving off the seasonal blues.  Consult you primary care doctor for any further recommendations.
Everyone has good and bad days and most are not caused by seasonal affective disorder.  So next time you get to feeling down in the summer or winter months, remember that, “You can’t enjoy a sunny day without a rainy day”[6]
What do you do for the rainy day blues?
Dr. Andrew Kender, D.C.
June 24, 2015
To Schedule a Free Consultation on What You Can Do for Your S.A.D., click here.
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

[1] Credited to Dr. Alfred B. Smith
[2] Ivry, Sara (August 13, 2002). Seasonal Depression can Accompany Summer Sun. The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2008
[3]…/are you sad this winter
[6] -Anonymous

9 Reasons Vitamin D is Critical to Good Health

161618-vitamin-d-sun      9 Reasons Vitamin D is Critical to Good Health

Information about vitamin D is everywhere.  So, what is the big deal about vitamin D?  Why is it critical to your health?

  1. Sunshine is not Enough!

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin because exposing our skin to sunlight produces Vitamin D in our bodies.  But this is not enough, especially in the environment we live in today.   It makes sense that a vitamin D supplement is necessary if you live in a sun-deprived area of the country, like the northeast, where winters are long and the cloud cover is dense.  But there are studies that have shown that people who live in San Diego are just as deficient in Vitamin D as someone who lives in the northeast.  Therefore, sunshine is not enough.  But why?  Didn’t it used to be enough?   We live in a changing world. We cannot rely on the sunshine as our sole source of Vitamin D for the following reasons:

  • Pollution
  • the use of sunscreen
  • living in big cities where buildings block the sunlight,
  • our society’s growing addiction to electronics, most often used inside
  • metabolic issues that reduce the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D
  1. It regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption in the bones.
  2. Because it is actually a hormone, vitamin D helps the cells in our body communicate.
  3. It regulates our immune system. Low vitamin D results in a disrupted immune system. This is very important for those with autoimmune conditions.
  4. It helps support cognitive functions and keeps the brain functioning later in life.
  5. It helps support a healthy body weight, according to research conducted at the Medical College of Georgia.
  6. It reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women.
  7. It can lower the risk of developing cancer according to a study carried out by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
  8. It has been suggested that it may decrease the risk of heart attack and early death.

So, vitamin D is critical – now what?

There are two main types of vitamin D –  D2 and D3.   Most doctors prescribe D2, which has to be converted into D3 to become active in the body.  This requires energy.  New research suggests that D3 is more effective.  A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, concluded that Vitamin D2 is much less effective than Vitamin D3 in humans.  So, it is important to find a vitamin D supplement that has vitamin D3.

You can also find vitamin D3 in food, especially in fish.  Remember though that you should always eat wild caught fish (more on this in another blog).  Choose one of these types of fish to increase your vitamin D levels:

  • Swordfish
  • Salmon
  • Tuna Fish
  • Sardines

Other foods are also great sources of vitamin D, including:

  • Cod liver oil (Carlson’s is a good quality cod liver oil)
  • Orange juice fortified with Vitamin D (organic)
  • Liver
  • Eggs

Ok., I got it.  Vitamin D is important and I know how to get it, but how much should I take?  What is the right level of Vitamin D in the body?

Mainstream medicine recommends vitamin D levels of between 32 IUs and 80 IUs, but most are happy if your vitamin D level stays around 35 IUs.   In functional medicine, this is far too low.  You want to reach and keep your ranges between 50 and 80 IUs.   You should always have your vitamin D level checked before starting any vitamin D regimen.  A note on testing, make sure that the test run is checking Vitamin D25 levels because vitamin D25 is the “most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body,” according to the National Institute of Health.

To maintain the recommended level of vitamin D, you will need to take a supplement and/or consume 2000 to 5000 IU’s per day.   Yes, it is possible to get too much Vitamin D, but this is very rare.  You should include a Vitamin D25 test as part of routine blood testing for the first few years after you begin a vitamin D regimen so that  you can make sure that your levels continue to be within the proper range.

Stay Healthy!!!!

Dr. David Starkey, D.C.

For more information go to

Just the DNA PleaseFunctional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road,Suite 100, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330)644-5488
Independence: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd.,Suite 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216)236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey, Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians