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Immune system can help fight seasonal disorders

December 30, 2010
by News release
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If it seems like it's harder to roll out of bed every morning when the temperature drops and sunrise comes later, you're not imagining things—and you're not alone. Whether chronic fatigue, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or an old-fashioned case of the seasonal blues, many people experience fatigue when seasons change and the weather cools.

The six out of 100 Americans who suffer from SAD and the 50 percent of adults that report feeling chronically tired during the winter can get relief simply by supporting and boosting the immune system naturally. Deficiency in anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 is a key factor in the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, according to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

Using a nutritional supplement that increases the activity of interleukins in the body can make a significant impact and may lesson the symptoms of fatigue, according to Dr. Elin Ritchie, a specialist in family alternative medicine. "This time of year can be exhausting for many reasons," Ritchie notes. "But a few simple lifestyle changes, healthful diet and immune system support can help you feel more energized throughout the season."

Other tips for fighting fatigue include:

1. Get as much (safe) sun exposure as possible. Open drapes and blinds as soon as you get up to allow sunlight into your home. Get as much time outdoors as your schedule and the weather permit. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D in your body and also benefits your mental health. Remember, though, to use sunscreen, as the sun's ultraviolet rays can still damage your skin, even in winter.

2. Stick to a reliable sleep schedule as much as possible. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. And make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep—declutter, choose comfortable and comforting linens, and turn off the TV.

3. Choose foods that are high in protein. Fruits and vegetables provide many healthful benefits and definitely belong in your diet. But for long-lasting energy, you'll get more benefit from lean protein (like chicken and fish) and complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread or beans. Avoid too much sugar. No matter how tempting those holiday treats appear, sugar's energy rush is usually followed by an energy drop that can leave you feeling more fatigued.

4. Find ways to relax. The cooler seasons can be a very stressful time and stress can keep you awake at night. To combat natural levels of stress, find and incorporate activities that relax you into your daily routine. Relieving stress can help improve sleep patterns.

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