Depression is on the mind of many of us, especially during the winter months. According to Statistics Canada, 5.4% of Canadians aged 15 and older have experienced a mood disorder within the last 12 months. Many patients are looking for natural ways to deal with depression. Naturopathic medicine has successful tools to support your mood.
- Regular exercise is very important to help lift your mood and combat anxiety. Exercise helps to release endorphins and increase the body’s natural production of serotonin. Walking daily for 30 minutes can have a significant impact on mood and overall health.
- Eating a diet full of veggies and healthy proteins is also important. Colorful vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients necessary for brain health. Healthy fats are also good brain food. Nuts, seeds, coconut, avocados and fish are excellent sources of brain-fuelling fats.
- Quality sleep is necessary to let the brain recover and repair itself each night. Try and have a regular bedtime and avoid screen time too late at night.
- Neurotransmitter testing, which measures serotonin, GABA, epinephrine, dopamine and other chemicals that control mood can be helpful in determining an individualized approach to treating depression. Naturopathic therapies such as specific amino acids, herbs and vitamins can then be used to increase or decrease neurotransmitter production to create a state of balance.
- Hormone balancing for both men and women may help to treat one of the root causes of depression and anxiety. Hormones change as we age, or deal with periods of higher stress.
- Vitamin D is one of the most well known mood-regulating vitamins. In Canada during the winter months we get much less sun exposure. This can result in increased symptoms of depression. Vitamin D testing is the best way to determine the dosage required.
Each person may benefit from a combination of the above naturopathic tools. As naturopathic doctors we are here to help you navigate how to find your path to a healthy mood.