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Alleviating Seasonal Affective Disorder
for Recessive Pineal Types

by Richard Power, Ph.D., L.N.

Does winter make you "SAD?" Seasonal Affective Disorder in the extreme form is fairly rare. But many of us do experience a loss of energy, immunity or joint mobility starting in October or November in the northern hemisphere. This is directly related to the decrease in available sunlight. Research at the National Institutes of Health has verified this.

Some people are much more likely to be affected than others. Our research indicates that people of tropical and subtropical genetic origin are the most prone. Strong pituitary or Gonad traits are markers for this ancient origin, as these types evolved to meet the demands of tropical or desert conditions. Weak pineal function is also a clear marker for the winter blues.

A few simple lifestyle changes can greatly increase energy during fall and winter. However, each person is unique and will have different needs and responses. The most helpful thing is natural full spectrum light. Keep in mind that windows and eyeglass lenses block out part of the healthy UV spectrum. Light to the eyes stimulates the pineal gland, so the eyes are particularly important for light therapy.

Basic light therapies:

  • Direct sunlight outdoors without lenses 30 minutes plus daily.
  • "Sunning" closed eyes toward the sun for 5-10 minutes.
  • Full spectrum light-bulbs for indoors. Such bulbs provide 85 to 95 percent of the visual spectrum instead of the usual 60 percent provided by standard bulbs. (See below.)
  • Sunlamp 12 to 48 minutes weekly, or brief a tanning studio session 1 or 2 times a month.
  • Work near windows especially those with southern exposure. Use bright light (400 watts per room) between 7 AM and 8 PM.
  • Winter vacation to a sunny place for 1 week.
  • Install a skylight, solar tube, or south facing windows.

Choosing full spectrum bulbs: Try fluorescent bulbs like "Vitalite" by DuroTest. Or try incandescent bulbs like the 60 watt "Gro n' Sho" by GE or the "Reveal" bulb by MidSpectrum. A 75 watt flood light version is also available. Look in the plant section of your local hardware store to find these bulbs. Use two or more bulbs in frequented areas. Do not shade them; rather, face them suitably to avoid direct glare. Remember to turn off these bulbs by early evening to avoid sleeplessness. If these bulbs are too strong for you, then turn them off earlier in the evening. Or try lower wattage but use later into the evening.

Sunlight has many beneficial effects on metabolism. Virtually every life form on earth depends on sunlight. Ancient physicians recognized the sun as a powerful tool for health. Modern research shows that sunlight is essential to proper endocrine function, such as the conversion of vitamin D to vitamin D3, which is crucial for strong healthy bones. It is true that excess midday sunlight can ruin your health. But lack of sunlight can also ruin your health especially in the autumn and winter seasons, particularly in modern societies that keep us indoors.

Some supplements can also be helpful to compensate for the decrease in sunlight. They are:
  • 400 i.u. of vitamin D3 taken 2 times / day
  • 1-3 mg melatonin taken in the evening before bed, or 50 mg. 5HTP taken after 5 PM
  • "Cytozyme Pineal" glandular by Biotics, taken 1 / day in the morning
  • 100 400 mg. magnesium taken over the course of each day

Suggested Reading / References:
  • "Health and Light" by John Ott
  • "Sunlight" by Zane Kime
  • S.A.D. research reports issued by National Institutes of Health

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