By: Dr Gayle Maguire, B.Sc, ND
A special time of year for so many reasons! The leaves, the crisp air, the seasonal vegetables, and of course the sniffles and cold viruses are all just part of the package. Here’s a fall check-in with our Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
One of the most common nutrition deficiencies amongst Canadians, this vitamin is easily supplemented over the counter. Look for a high-potency liquid form that gives 1000 I.U. per drop, such as those available at the clinic. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to poor mood, autoimmune disease, fertility struggles, and many more. Patients report feeling more energy and improved immune systems while supplementing.
Vitamin D supplementation can prevent or lessen S.A.D. symptoms, as can a “SAD” lamp for home or office use. This is well worth the investment for many. Aim to get 20 minutes of sun exposure on face and hands daily, before applying sunscreen. Since the days are shorter, you may have to get creative to squeeze in your sunlight. A lunch hour walk could do the trick!
Melatonin is highest in the evening as our cortisol levels decline. If you have trouble sleeping, look at your stress levels, as this can elevate cortisol and inhibit melatonin. Melatonin (and sleep!) can also be improved by darkening your bedroom, in some cases to complete darkness. Supplementation is possible but should be done with professional guidance as a last resort. Melatonin dysregulation has been connected to increased rates of breast cancer.
Many of our serotonin receptors are located within our digestive tract, so make sure you have optimal nutrition and flora (probiotics like Acidolphilus). Serotonin production requires tryptophan (found in high amounts in turkey, hence the recent Thanksgiving comas!), so keep up your turkey intake! Serotonin also requires magnesium and B vitamins to be processed properly.
Overall Fall Wellness
The viruses are circulating so consider checking in with your medical or naturopathic doctor for advice on supplementation, lab testing, and nutritional advice to help support a healthy immune system. There are herbal medicines and medicinal mushrooms that can increase your defenses against germs. In general, watch your coffee and sugar consumption and make sure you give your immune system enough protein to build its army. Many people begin to look at liver cleanses or detox this time of year, which may be an option to consider every time the season changes. Take the shorter days as a cue to get more rest after a fun-filled summer!
Learn more about Dr. Gayle Maguire here