Updated: Dec 22, 2022
This year, COVID has become more manageable allowing families to connect in person.
A few key themes come up at this time:
Feelings of isolation and worsened mental health from financial and social pressures (Anxiety, Depression)
Immune health concerns such as: Cold and flu viruses, COVID and RSV
Increased fatigue levels and weight gain
As an ND, anxiety and low moods are common concerns for patients.
Certain vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B6, niacin and B12 have been shown to contribute to low moods. Correcting these low levels through diet or supplementation can help improve symptoms and help reduce stress levels. Other supplements such as vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil and probiotics have been shown to change mental health scores in studies and improve quality of life. It may be worthwhile checking B12 and vitamin D through blood tests.
Due to higher levels of sugar, and processed carbohydrates, these important vitamins are often missed. A dietary evaluation through a diet dietary can assess whether these levels are being obtained through food. Being a vegetarian or on a gluten free diet can put you at risk for these deficiencies.
Proper sleep, movement (yoga, walking) and deep breathing can also promote better mental health.
Mindfulness and gratitude are also great ways to improve low mood over the holidays.
With COVID and general colds and flus occuring, immune maintenance is an important health topic also. Vitamin C, probiotics and zinc may both reduce the frequency of colds and flus and also be used for treatment purposes. Adding in herbs like garlic, thyme, oregano and ginger are great antiviral foods. Certain essential oil blends can also be diffused in crowded areas. Following public health measures, along with proper sleep, stress reduction and a healthy diet and exercise are the basic treatments to start with. Consult an ND for further immune support.
FATIGUE & WEIGHT GAIN
Due to ongoing stress levels, and sleep issues, fatigue is also a common concern. Adaptogenic herbs, and B vitamins are commonly prescribed supplements. Along with fatigue, are complaints of weight gain from excess consumption of processed foods and sweets. To avoid sugar crashes and excess weight gain, ensure that protein is eaten with each meal, adequate water is consumed, and alcohol and caffeine intakes are balanced.
Often times, thyroid and hormonal imbalances may also lead to both fatigue and weight gain. Thyroid levels are tested to evaluate whether suboptimal thyroid function is a cause and can be tested through a thyroid panel (T3, T4, anti-TPO (antibodies to thyroid)), along with iron and B12 levels.
Abnormal hormone levels and food sensitivities may also lead to low energy and mood which can be tested as well.
Whether you are dealing with low mood or anxiety, are sick over the holidays or feel tired and struggle with weight gain, a Naturopathic consult can help you reach your health goals.
Happy Holidays and New year,
Dr. Kaitlyn Zorn ND