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Beat the Winter Blues with Probiotics

by Laura Beans
Organic vegetables fermenting in a jar.

In the dead of winter, with frigid winds, oppressive snowfall and ever-fleeting daylight, more that 10 million Americans also battle an invisible offender known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Included in the American Psychiatric Association’s official manual in 1987, symptoms of SAD include lack of energy, weight gain, difficulty concentrating and a range of others that result in an overall feeling of depression. The causes of SAD are varied, and include disruptions in serotonin and melatonin levels.

But there are ways to combat the condition, with exercise and light therapy, as well as healthy eating, like incorporating pre- and probiotics into your diet, as we learned from Raphael Kellman, MD, founder of the The Kellman Center for Integrative & Functional Medicine, and author of The Microbiome Diet (Da Capo Lifelong Books).

“Probiotic supplementation can radically alter the health and function of the entire body—including our mood,” says Dr. Kellman. Probiotics are a natural, holistic approach to combating seasonal depression.

Foods that are rich in probiotics include:

  • Organic yogurt
  • Miso soup
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha

“Like a ripple effect in a pond, changes in the microbiome will vibrate out to every part of your body and health,” says Dr. Kellman. “A proper diet, one that feeds the good bacteria in our stomach, is essential, and the most effective way to create a balanced microbiome, and ultimately, a more balanced system, which includes brain function and mood.”

Probiotics also come in powder, tablet and capsule form to make it even easier to integrate them into your diet. Be sure to look for the USDA certified organic label to ensure that your supplements are of the highest quality.


Sunbiotics USDA certified organic Sunbiotics offer a wide variety of probiotic supplements, from tablets and powders to chocolate and almonds, plus kid-friendly options like banana and apple flavors. sunbiotics.com

Garden of Life With credentials like Non-GMO Project Verified, USDA Organic and Good Manufacturing Practice compliant, the RAW Probiotics line from Garden of Life meets your high standards. Plus, Garden of Life gives back, partnering with organizations including National Parkinson Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages International, Vitamin Angles and more. gardenoflife.com

Dr. Ohhira Probiotics Renowned supplement provider Dr. Ohhira’s wide range of probiotic products contain 12 strains of gut-friendly bacteria.drohhiraprobiotics.com

Nordic Naturals A special blend of both pre- and probiotics improves gastrointestinal health as well as supports optimum immune function. Non-GMO and vegetarian. nordicnaturals.com

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