Category: Brain / Memory Health

How to Beat Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder Naturally?

Abstract

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur if one is having a family history of depression, bipolar disorder or any psychological disorder. Common treatments to this may include anti-depressants, counseling and allopathy medications but improving lifestyle, diet, and mode of living can manage this syndrome effectively and naturally.

Introduction

Welcome to the season when days have started getting shorter, less sunlight, 5 p.m. sunsets and plenty of snow all around. Some days can be worse if one is experiencing random mood swings, feeling more lethargic and low almost every day. What might be the reason?

Is it the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or Winter Blues?

Some people start feeling dump after the winter vacations, ending the festive season and Slump after the fun. Finding it difficult to get up out of the bed, irritated, sad and low energy levels are not uncommon. These are the manageable ebb and flow that come along with the every changing season and can be considered as winter blues. There is no clinical diagnosis for this condition but is fairly common globally. While a small percentage of people experience a severe medical disorder which is known as Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder with recurrent seasonal patterns which usually begins in fall and continues till winter ends. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this starts in a specific season each year and ends in another. This disorder occurs more often in women than in men at an estimated age between 18-30 years. People living away from the equator are more susceptible to this disease.

Recognize the Signs and Don’t Ignore Your Symptoms

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms Include the Following

  • Excess sleeping
  • Overeating
  • The person feels down or depressed the whole day or nearly every day
  • Loss in interest in some activities which you enjoyed once
  • Preferring isolation and withdrawing from social gatherings
  • Constant feeling of fatigued and lethargic
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling of hopelessness and demotivated
  • Finds difficult to take initiative
  • Difficulty in focusing on work
  • Frequently crying
  • Lowered energy levels
  • Crave carbohydrates and sugars
  • Sudden weight gain

Symptoms Which Can Occur During Summer Are Given as Follows

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • anxiety
  • violent behavior
  • sudden weight loss
  • poor appetite

Causes

Some of the Major Factors that Trigger The Onset of The Disorder Are Discussed as Follows

The major and foremost reason which can be considered as the primary culprit for a seasonal affective disorder is the decreased exposure to sunlight which leads to an imbalance in serotonin and melatonin levels.

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that modulates all human behavior and is produced by CNS neurons. This hormone regulates the brain functions, helps to regulate mood, biological clock and body’s sleep-wake cycles. Lowered serotonin levels can be due to improper diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, etc. and ultimately leads to the onset of depression. (3)

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin hormone which is secreted by the pineal gland is a derivative of tryptophan (Amino acid) found in mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. In humans, it regulates circadian rhythm (24-hour cycles) and its secretion is enhanced by darkness while inhibited by light. (2)

Less sunlight causes a deficiency of Vitamin D which hinders the secretion of Serotonin and melatonin which ultimately causes depressive symptoms. But don’t let these winter blues hinder your daily enjoyment here are some of the home remedies which can put this winter illness off.

Home Remedies – Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle

1. Sunlight

To get a sufficient amount of Vitamin-D, you need to step outside whenever the sun is out. Exposing yourself to natural light and sun will trigger the serotonin production which will naturally lighten up your mood. So this winter takes a break with your kids, family or friends and tries indulging yourself in skiing, ice-skating or picnic, etc.

2. Exercise

Exercise tends to have a link with mental health so making exercise an essential part of our routine contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Daily exercise is beneficial in managing depression and anxiety effectively which acts as a natural antidepressant. It also increases endorphins which are secreted by the hypothalamus and lower levels may trigger anxiety and stress. Levels of serotonin and endorphins can affect mood which can be boosted by daily exercise.

3. Change your Diet

Some of the dietary supplements and altering diet can improve the condition and some of the supplements are discussed as follows-

1.Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Food items like walnut, salmon, tuna, shrimp, catfish, spinach, flaxseed oil, etc. should be added in the diet.

2.Berries

Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. can help to prevent the secretion of cortisol which is a stress hormone.

3.Folic Acid

Food items that have high amounts of folic acid are Oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, cereals, soybeans, and black-eyed peas can be included in daily diet.

4.Vitamin B-12 and D

Food sources like oysters, crab, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, cereals, etc. are rich in Vitamin B-12 while mushrooms, fish, etc. are rich in Vitamin D should be included in the daily diet for reducing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

5.Banana

It possesses tryptophan, natural sugars, magnesium and potassium which improves sleep and reduces anxiety which naturally symptoms of depression and enhances a good mood.

Ayurvedic Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Ayurvedic Medicine forSeasonal Affective Disorder

Ayurvedic Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

1.Stress Support Capsule

Stress support from Planet Ayurveda has been formulated from enormous traditional herbs like Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and Tagar (Valeriana wallichii). This product effectively manages various conditions like nausea, dizziness, tremors, sleeping disorders, and anxiety.

Dosage – 1-2 capsules daily with plain water after meals

2. Brahmi Chyawanprash

This is an herbal dietary supplement that contains many herbs like Jivanti, Punarnava, Jeerak, Brahmi, Dashmola, Bhumi Amla, Choti elaichi, Ashwagandha, Bala, Shatavari, Chandan, etc. This product pacifies Tridosha i.e. Kapha, Pitta and Vata which eliminates anxiety, indiscrimination, fear, grief, etc.

Dosage – 2-3 teaspoonful twice or thrice with milk after meals.

3. Brahmi Capsules

Brahmi capsules are an amazing herbal product that has been formulated from the standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri which is very beneficial in treating Neurological Disorders.

Dosage – 1-2 capsules two times a day with plain water after meals.

4. Gotu kola Capsules

Gotu kola capsules have been prepared from pure extracts of Gotukola (Centella asiatica) which Manages Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety effectively.

Dosage – 1-2 capsules two times a day with plain water.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4673349/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5405617/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728667/

Alternative Treatment For Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Overview

Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is an uncommon, progressive condition that affects the brain and the nerves. The disease is marked by the degeneration of motor neurons — that is, the nerve cells that control the movement of the muscles by transmitting signals from the brain.

World-MS-Awareness-Day_1

The term ‘Motor Neuron Disease’ (MND) broadly refers to a group of severe neurodegenerative conditions. In most patients, MND causes the degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons, and adversely affects the functioning of the nerves in the spine and brain over a period of time. The motor neurons degenerate progressively and rapidly; thereby leading to weakness and wasting of muscles. As the condition progresses, patients start losing mobility in the limbs, and experience difficulties with speech, breathing, and swallowing. Eventually, the disease leads to respiratory failure.

MND is considered a fatal disease, though some patients can survive with the condition for several years. Once the symptoms of the disease become noticeable, doctors usually predict a life expectancy of 2-5 years for most patients. However, based on the rate of progression of the disease in individual patients, nearly 20% of the MND patients can live for up to 5-10 years after the disease is diagnosed.

According to research, the occurrence of MND is higher in people aged more than 50 years as compared to younger adults. Moreover, men are at a higher risk of developing the condition than women.

According to Ayurveda, diseases like MND are a result of Vata derangement. The Vata bio factor is responsible for functions of the central, autonomic, and peripheral nervous systems. Vata controls the brain’s cognitive and neurocognitive function, all kinds of body movements, as well as the respiratory, blood, lymphatic, excretory, and reproductive systems.

Types of Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Motor Neurone Disease can be categorized into the following five types, depending on the affected motor neurons:

  1. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is the most common type of MND that affects neurons in the brain and spinal cord
  2. Primary Lateral Sclerosis, which affects neurons in the brain
  3. Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP), which involves the brain stem
  4. Progressive Muscular Atrophy (PMA), which affects the motor neurons in the spinal cord
  5. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is an inherited condition that affects children.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND): Causes

The exact cause of the occurrence of MND is not clearly known. Nonetheless, doctors believe that MND can either occur due to hereditary (inherited) factors or some sporadic/random factors.

In patients affected by MND due to hereditary factors, the condition is usually presented at birth. However, except for Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the symptoms of MND usually become noticeable only after 40 years of age. Nearly 10% of all MND cases are linked to hereditary factors.

With regard to random factors, experts are of the opinion that MND can occur due to viral, toxic, and other environmental factors. MND occurs randomly in almost 90% of cases.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND): Symptoms

The symptoms of MND follow a pattern that can be divided into three stages the initial stage, the advanced stage, and the end-stage.

At The Initial Stage

  1. Constant Fatigue
  2. Weakened Hand Grip
  3. Slurred Speech
  4. Pain In Muscles
  5. Cramps And Quivers
  6. Weakness In Arms And Legs
  7. Problems In Swallowing Food
  8. Loss of Balance
  9. Shortness of Breath
  10. Abnormal Emotional Responses, Like Laughing or Crying Involuntarily
  11. Weight Loss.

At The Advanced Stage

  1. Difficulty In Moving
  2. Shrinkage of Muscles
  3. Pain In Joints
  4. Breathing Difficulties
  5. Swallowing Problems Which Cause Drooling
  6. Jaw Pain
  7. Personality Changes
  8. Changes In An Emotional State.

At The End Stage

  1. Complete body paralysis that prevents the movements of all parts of the body
  2. Severity of breathing/respiratory problems.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND): Alternative Treatment

There is no treatment for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Doctors usually depend on various therapies and exercises for reducing the impact of progressive MND symptoms on the patient’s life.

MND symptoms can be managed with the help of alternative medicine. Planet Ayurveda offers some excellent herbal products which can be extremely beneficial for MND patients. These products are:

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1. Vrihat Vatchintamani Ras

Vrihat Vatchintamani Ras is an Ayurvedic formulation available in tablet form which is prepared from a combination of several powerful natural ingredients including Swarna Bhasma (Calx of Gold), Rajata Bhasma (Calx od Silver), Loha Bhasma (Calx of Iron), Abhraka Bhasma (Calx of Mica), Pravala Bhasma (Calx of Coral), Mukta Bhasma (Calx of Pearl), Suta Bhasma (a compound of purified Mercury and purified Sulphur), and Aloe Vera juice extract.

The use of Vrihat Vatchintamani Ras tablets can support mental health, promote healthy functioning of the brain, keep the nervous system healthy, treat pain, manage tumors, and balance Vata and Pitta doshas.

Dosage: 1 tablet, twice a day.

2. Brahmi Capsules

A standardized extract of ‘Brahmi’ herb (Bacopa Monneiri) is used for preparing these capsules. The herb is widely known for its therapeutic value and is considered an excellent health tonic, aphrodisiac and memory enhancer.

Brahmi capsules can promote mental health, relieve inflammatory conditions, strengthen the immune system, regulate blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and remove free radicals from the body.

Dosage: 2 capsules, twice a day.

3. Ashwagandha Capsules

The preparation of these capsules involves a standardized extract of ‘Ashwagandha’ herb (Withania Somniferum). The potent herb is widely used in Ayurvedic formulations because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The use of Ashwagandha capsules can enhance mental health, support nerve functions, improve brain function, enhance heart health, strengthen the muscles, manage inflammation, rejuvenate the body, and balance Vata and Pitta doshas.

Dosage: 1 capsule, twice a day.

4. Shilajit Capsules

For preparing these capsules, a standardized extract of the ‘Shilajit’ herb (Asphaltum) is used. The herb is considered an excellent adaptogen, restorative, rejuvenating and ‘Rasayana.’

Shilajit capsules can rejuvenate brain cells, relieve mental and physical stress, increase stamina, boost metabolism, eliminate toxins from the body, strengthen the muscles, and support the immune system.

Dosage: 1-2 capsules, once or twice a day.

5. Gotu kola Capsules

The preparation of these capsules involves a standardized extract of ‘Gotu kola’ herb (Centella Asiatica). The herb is widely used in Ayurvedic formulations because of its ability to promote overall health.

The use of Gotu kola capsules can maintain brain health, maintain a healthy metabolic rate, support healthy blood circulation, pacify Pitta dosha, and balance the body’s three psychic energies Satva, Rajas and Tamas.

Dosage: 2 capsules, twice a day.

Conclusion:

Planet Ayurveda’s herbal products for managing MND symptoms are prepared from 100% pure and natural herbs. These products do not contain any chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors, binders or fillers. The products are safe to use, but should ideally be given to MND patients in consultation with an expert Ayurveda practitioner.

FAQs

Q. Which is the most common type of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)?

A. The most common type of MND is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Q. What is a person’s lifetime risk of developing MND?

A. A person’s lifetime risk of developing MND is nearly 1 in 300.

Q. Do MND patients show the signs of Dementia at a later stage?

A. Yes. Around 15% MND patients show the signs of frontotemporal Dementia at a later stage.

Q. Why do MND patients find it difficult to keep their head upright as the disease progresses?

A. MND patients find it difficult to keep their head upright because of the weakening of the neck and shoulder muscles.

Q. Why do MND patients increasing experience breathing difficulties?

A. MND patients increasing experience breathing difficulties because the disease affects the respiratory muscles.

Q. Does MND affect intellect and memory?

A. No. In most cases, MND does not affect intellect and memory.

Q. Does MND affect the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing?

A. No. MND does not affect these senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing.

Q. Does MND have a direct impact on bladder and bowel functions?

A: No. MND does not directly affect bladder and bowel functions at initial stage. However, bowel functions may get affected at a later stage due to immobility and dietary changes.

Q. How is the progression of MND generally measured for the patients?

A. The progression of MND is generally measured in terms of difficulties experienced by patients while carrying out their day-to-day activities.

Q. In which age-group is the highest incidence of MND usually recorded?

A. The highest incidence of MND is usually recorded in the 50-70 age-group.