Scientists find cause of winter blues
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen say brain scans have shown that seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or "winter blues," may be more common in some people because they have a difficult time controlling serotonin levels in their brains.
Serotoknin is associated with maintaining mood balance.
For the study, 11 volunteers with SAD and 23 healthy participants had their brains scanned and those scans showed significant differences in the levels of the serotonin transporter protein (SERT) in the SAD volunteers from summer to winter. The SAD volunteers had higher levels of the transporter protein in the winter and that resulted in a decrease in serotonin.
These findings confirm that SERT plays a key role in regulating mood in people susceptible to the winter blues.
Experts note that eating a balanced diet, going outdoors regularly and receiving sunlight can help maintain healthy serotonin levels.