The current study included 115 people experiencing depression
They were split into three group depending on how well they responded to depression treatment.
The results of blood tests revealed that those who responded the best to treatment had the highest levels of vitamin B12.
After treatment, those who were experiencing the highest levels of depression had the lowest levels of vitamin B12 in their system.
The study’s authors write:
“As far as we know, there have been no previous studies that have suggested a positive relationship between vitamin B12 and the treatment outcome in patients with major depressive disorder who have normal or high vitamin B12 levels.”
The link between depression and vitamin B12 deficiency may be explained by the fact that B12 deficiency can cause damage to the nervous system, which can affect the function of neurotransmitters and lead to symptoms of depression.
Additionally, B12 deficiency can also lead to anaemia, which is a condition characterized by a low red blood cell count.
Anaemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and irritability, all of which can contribute to feelings of depression.
Common signs of B12 deficiency
Other, more common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to rectify with supplements or by dietary changes
The body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy.
Good sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.
Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.
People who may have difficult getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also be caused by certain medical conditions or by certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors or metformin.
It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with energy issues. We go, go, go from morning to night, running on little but grit and caffeine. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “The reality is, you can get a real boost by making a few simple changes,” says Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, director of the integrative health program at Massachusetts General Hospital. That’s why we put together this complete guide to all-day energy: It’s packed with proven strategies that will keep you powered up as you plow through your to-do list. You’ll also learn about surprising energy drains (social media, we’re looking at you)—and how to keep them from stealing your mojo.
Keep allergies under control
People with hay fever often feel sluggish. “You spend so much time trying to breathe, you don’t have energy for anything else,” says New Jersey-based allergist Dr. Neeta Ogden, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Your congestion might also keep you awake at night: French researchers found that more than 40 percent of seasonal-allergy sufferers reported they weren’t able to get a good night’s sleep when their symptoms flared.
Studies have shown that over-the-counter nasal steroid sprays (like Nasacort and Flonase) effectively relieve congestion and improve quality of life—including fatigue and sleep issues—in people with seasonal allergies. Ogden suggests pairing a spray with a daily dose of an OTC nonsedating antihistamine (such as Claritin or Allegra); the drug will block the action of histamine, the compound that triggers pesky nasal symptoms. For best results, begin treatment a couple of weeks before sniffle season starts.
Get enough (quality) sleep
It’s estimated that up to 26 percent of all adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea, a disorder that involves shallow breathing or pauses in breathing while you sleep. If you’re among them, you may often feel like you’re in a “brain fog,” even if you’re clocking seven hours of shut-eye a night. If your primary care physician suspects sleep apnea, she can refer you to a sleep center. Most cases can be diagnosed with an at-home test, says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Southern California and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Mild cases can often be treated with lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight and avoiding alcohol before bed. Moderate or severe cases may require sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which supplies a steady stream of air to keep your airways open.
A sweat session is great for upping your oomph, even when you feel like you’re out of juice. “When you exercise, you release hormones like adrenaline. This hormone actually tells our bodies to ignore feelings of pain and fatigue while enhancing blood flow to large muscles,” says Sabrena Jo, senior exercise scientist at the American Council on Exercise. As a result, a workout can leave you with more energy than you had beforehand—an effect that can last several hours.
And it doesn’t take much. One study looked at healthy, sedentary people who began exercising three days a week for just 20 minutes a day, at either a moderate or a low intensity. By the end of six weeks, their energy levels were 20 percent higher than those of a control group of nonexercisers.
Remember: The idea is to leave the gym energized, not exhausted. “If you feel beaten down by the time you step off the treadmill, it’s a sign you need to scale back,” says Jo.
Get adequate vitamin D
Research suggests this key vitamin plays a role in keeping us charged up. Experts suspect D helps regulate insulin secretion and metabolism, both of which affect energy levels. The nutrient has also been linked to better moods (not to mention a slew of other health benefits). If you find yourself constantly dragging, particularly in the winter, it might be worth asking your doc to check your D levels. Since it can be tough to get an adequate amount from food (sources include fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk), she may recommend a supplement.
Purge your Facebook friends
There are two reasons social media can be an energy suck, says Dr. Brian Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh. “On one hand, you look at everyone’s curated photos and get depressed because your life doesn’t look so perfect,” he explains. “But on the other hand, anything that’s negative also gets magnified. Neither extreme is good.” Indeed, one of his studies found a link between the amount of time spent on social media and the likelihood of depression.
Not ready to cut the Facebook cord? Try paring your “friends” down to your actual friends. “When you don’t know someone, you’re more likely to have a miscommunication or be upset by something in their feed,” says Primack. “But using social media to connect with old friends can have the opposite effect—it’s energizing.”
Eat to fuel
To improve your everyday energy, try this tweak: Substitute plant protein for animal protein whenever possible, suggests Samantha Heller, a registered dietitian at the NYU School of Medicine. Plants feed the “good” bacteria in your gut, she explains, which help boost your immunity to keep you healthy. They may also boost overall mood. A 2015 study found that people who followed a plant-based eating program for 18 weeks saw an increase in their productivity. Here, Heller describes a sample menu for an ideal day.
Breakfast: A Berry smoothie. Blend 1/2 cup berries with a scoop of avocado and 3/4 cup soy milk. The shake is high in both fiber and protein to stabilize your blood sugar until lunch.
Lunch: Lentil soup and kale salad. Lentils and kale are a mighty nutritional combo, offering protein, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc, folate, and more.
P.M. snack: Fruit and nuts. This duo serves up a nice balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to help you power through the rest of the afternoon.
Dinner: Vegetarian tacos. Wrap beans with shredded lettuce and cheese, chopped tomato, avocado, and salsa in a corn tortilla for a light dinner that won’t mess with your sleep.
Try some fast pick-me-ups
Take a mini break. Stand up and stretch, or watch a funny video. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers found that people who took two short breaks during a repetitive 50-minute task performed better than those who worked straight through.
Go for a quick walk. A landmark study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that a brisk 10-minute walk can have a revitalizing effect, enhancing energy for at least two hours.
Chew a stick of gum. A 2015 U.K. study found that this trick raised alertness and improved concentration, possibly because chewing increases blood flow.
Don’t ignore fatigue
Sometimes feeling spent isn’t a problem that can be solved with a nap. Below are a few possible medical explanations for flagging energy.
Anemia. This condition, common in women, means you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues. If blood tests reveal you’re anemic, you may need to take an iron supplement.
Celiac disease. Fatigue is one of the symptoms of this serious condition, in which an autoimmune reaction to gluten damages the intestines. If blood tests suggest celiac, you’ll need an intestinal biopsy to diagnose it. The only proven therapy is a gluten-free diet.
Hypothyroidism. “If your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, you’re going to feel like you’re running low on fuel all the time,” says Milosavljevic. This disorder can be treated with synthetic hormones.
Heart disease. A 2003 study published in Circulation found that 70 percent of women who’d suffered heart attacks had reported feeling unusual fatigue for up to a month beforehand. “Patients often say that they feel tired in their chest,” says Dr. Dana Simpler, an internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. After a full workup, your doc can prescribe a treatment plan.
This article originally appeared on Health.com
Hallie Levine / Health.com May 03, 2017 TIME Health
Ginger is a treasure in Asian cuisine, where it’s cherished for its unique ability to bring a touch of tanginess to dishes. Its distinctive lemony aroma and touch of spiciness can awaken the flavors of favorite recipes.
But ginger’s amazing role in cooking is just the start — the spice is also well-known for its many medicinal benefits. For centuries, ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, stomachaches, nausea, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea.
In traditional Chinese medicine, sliced or grated ginger is boiled in water as a soup to help fend off early signs of a cold. And it’s often the last resort for those who suffer motion sickness when pills won’t work. (A freshly cut ginger slice is either placed in the mouth or on the belly button with a Band-Aid.)
Right into the modern age, ginger is still the go-to herbal remedy for those who believe in natural healing.
And science is now catching up. Here are some of the research-backed revelations about the powerful benefits of this exotic spice:
1. It’s anti-inflammatory.
Ginger contains dozens of the most potent natural inflammation-fighting substances, like gingerols. The ability for food to reduce inflammation is important, as inflammation contributes to many chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, pain, and heart disease.
2. It’s anti-aging.
Ginger also has powerful antioxidant effects. It raises levels of the master antioxidant glutathione in the body. And by fighting oxidative stress, ginger helps control the process of aging.
3. It reduces pain from exercise.
One study found that eating ginger before cycling reduced quadriceps muscle pain, likely thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.
4. It assists with weight loss.
Research shows that ginger tea helps prevent metabolic disorders and reduces the feeling of hunger, meaning it plays a role in weight management.
5. It helps treat anemia.
Ginger and its bioactive components, such as gingerols and shogaols, stimulate the production of blood cells in the body and can improve anemia symptoms.
6. It can help manage diabetes.
One study showed that ginger can improve fasting blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. And scientists have discovered that combining honey and ginger reduces oxidative stress as well as the complications of diabetes.
This is especially important, given that the number of people with diabetes across the world is predicted to increase from 171 million in 2000 to 552 million by 2030.
7. It helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Since ancient times, natural compounds of ginger have been appreciated for their use in preventing various age-related ailments, including brain aging and neuro-degeneration. Recent studies have emphasized ginger’s benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
8. It can ease symptoms of osteoarthritis.
In traditional Indonesian medicine, red ginger has been prescribed to relieve arthritis pain.
Now, an unprecedented study has found that topical ginger treatment using either a traditional manually prepared ginger compress or a standardized ginger patch could relieve symptoms for people with chronic osteoarthritis.
9. It can prevent liver disease.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease that’s quickly turning into an epidemic. Insulin resistance is a major feature in patients with NAFLD.
But research has shown that gingerols, the active component of ginger, could help improve insulin resistance, serving as a natural way to prevent NAFLD.
How to Spice Up Your Life with Ginger
Shop for whole ginger root in the vegetable aisle, looking for ginger that is firm to the touch and not wilted, dried out, or moldy. To use fresh ginger, remove the skin and cut a section of the yellow root. Finely chop the ginger, and it’s ready to use.
You can also make fresh ginger tea by adding finely chopped ginger to boiled water, letting it steep for two to three minutes, and then straining out the ginger.