Evidence is emerging for a link between gut health and depression. A study by the University of Cork showed that animals fed with Lactobacillus had significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviours than those fed with standard feed. In humans, a study from California, showed that healthy women consuming
probiotics had improved brain function and less markers of stress
It is hard to motivate yourself to go for a brisk walk or jog on a cold, rainy day but that's precisely the best thing to do to elevate mood. A recent meta-analysis of RCT's involving women with breast cancer reported a 15% reduction in depression in those following a 3 hours a week exercise programme. As well as increasing gut health and lowering inflammation, exercise directly increases mood enhancing endorphines.
Despite the short lived rush some people feel after a sugary snack the longer term consequences of eating too much processed sugar are concerning. It effect on glycaemic index and inflammatory makers is particularly bad if taken on an empty stomach. In summary it:
Recently, vitamin D has been reported to be an important factor that has significant health benefits in the prevention of depression. Vitamin D has a 6 week half life, so by December most of us are deficient unless practical measures are taken. Even in the shorter days it's important to get out in the light when available. Although more evidence I needed it seems very sensible to take 1000iu of vitamin D a day over the Winter.
Inflammation is another potential root cause of low mood. Low-grade systemic inflammation leads to the over-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that are associated with depression and brain fog. Tips to reduce chronic inflammation include:
There's increasing interest in the health benefits of legal CBD oil (hemp without the psychotropic THC). It has some relaxing effects and can help some people sleep. The evidence for depression is less robust and if you are going to try it, make sure you buy an
organic CBD variety as a lot of plant is needed you make a call amount of oil so otherwise the levels of pesticides would be high in the oil.