Many people experience Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) this time of year. So what a perfect time to publish this guest post by Lindsey Dahlberg!
A major change had taken over my life and I didn’t even notice. But my husband did. One night, while I was tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, he quietly whispered from the other side of the bed, “I think you are depressed.”
I turned on the lamp and sat up, giving him my best I-dare-you-to-say-that-again look. He sighed and carefully, lovingly started into his argument:
I had pulled away from him and the kids. I preferred to spend time alone, rather than join in with what the rest of the family was doing. I could sit on the sofa and stare into space for huge chunks of time without even realizing I was doing it—or what was going on around me in the meantime. I didn’t spend time with friends anymore. I groaned when my phone rang. I dreaded social gatherings.
I was irritable, lashing out at the littlest things. I oscillated between not being able to rest and sleeping way more than I should. I had trouble remembering things and concentrating on certain tasks was an unwelcomed challenge.
He was right. I was depressed. And the knowledge nearly crushed me.
Considering my Options
The next morning, I went online to do some research. I was immediately confronted with technical jargon and treatment options that were filled with unknown chemicals. I knew none of that was for me.
So I changed my search parameters to include natural treatment options. What I found changed my life. I began to read about vitamin B12 deficiencies—the causes, the symptoms and the treatments.
I checked the causes…
Vitamin B12 is only naturally found in animal products—meat, seafood, dairy products, eggs, etc. If you don’t eat enough of these foods, you could have a deficiency. Even if you do pack on the proteins, there is a chance your body has a hard time absorbing what you eat.
I wasn’t technically a vegetarian or a raw foods fanatic, but I did prefer vegetables and fruits to anything else. Analyzing what I was eating, I could easily see how I might not be getting enough vitamin B12.
I checked the symptoms…
A vitamin B12 deficiency is noted by several symptoms. Unfortunately, these symptoms are common of other ailments too—so the nutrient shortage often goes unnoticed.
A minor deficiency was commonly marked by:
- Feeling weak
- Dizzy spells
- Constant fatigue
- Spurts of elevated heart rate and breathing
- Easy bruising or bleeding (especially the gums)
- Digestive issues including upset stomach
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Tingling of the fingers and toes
The longer the deficiency persisted, the more advanced the symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Panic attacks
Taking a careful look at the list of symptoms—and my overall health—I realized I was experiencing quite a few of these conditions.
I checked the treatments…
A vitamin B12 deficiency can be managed with a variety of methods.
First, simply adding more vitamin rich foods to the diet can help. This is the most natural option available. However, it isn’t necessarily the most effective. Many people have absorption issues—meaning our bodies won’t be able to take advantage of all the nutrients in the foods we eat. No matter how much B12 is consume, the body might still have a shortage.
Second, oral pills are an option. Anyone who has walked through the aisles of a pharmacy knows there are supplements available for just about every vitamin, mineral and element under the sun. There are a few drawbacks to oral pills though. If your body struggles to absorb the vitamin B12 from the foods you eat, it will also have a hard time taking advantage of the nutrients in the supplement. Therefore, you might not be any better off with oral supplements.
Also, oral supplements must be digested and absorbed by the body. A lot of the dose is lost during this process. That means you are paying for a lot of supplement that your body will never use.
Lastly, oral pills usually include cheap fillers and potentially harmful chemicals. That didn’t sound like the natural treatment I was looking for.
The third supplementation option was my favorite. Vitamin B12 injections have many benefits over oral pills. Vitamin B12 injections are administered directly into the muscle. This bypasses the absorption process and ensures 100% of the injection dose reaches the bloodstream.
There are other benefits of injectable B12 too. For example, oral pills need to be taken daily (sometimes twice a day). Injectable B12 is much more efficient and therefore, don’t need to be administered as often. A quick and easy poke once or twice a week sure beats daily pills!
Getting the Official Stamp of Approval
Armed with all my research, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor to check my vitamin B12 levels. The simple blood test revealed what I believed to be true—I had a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Since my doctor is sympathetic to natural healing and preventative health, she whole-heartedly encouraged my depression treatment option. She pointed out that there was a proven link between a vitamin B12 deficiency and depression, even if the exact role of vitamin B12 injections in the treatment of depression was unclear.
Happy With My Decision
It had been a long time since I felt actual joy and enthusiasm for anything, but walking out of the doctor’s office that day was the closest I’d come to elation.
Since starting on my treatment journey, I’ve already noticed perceptible changes. Of course, those modifications didn’t happen overnight, but the cumulative change in my demeanor and mindset is amazing.
If you find yourself in a similar position—no matter what the health concern—consider holistic and natural treatments first. I could have easily started popping an anti-depressant; I might have even seen temporary results. But by understanding and treating the underlying issue, I can fill my body with natural, necessary goodness rather than questionable, toxic chemicals.
Treating ailments naturally is what all the cool kids are doing; have you tried it yet?
About the Author
Lindsey Dahlberg is a fan of natural healing and preventative health. When she finds something that works, she likes to share her story far and wide!