We all know the feeling of revelling in the sun when it comes back to the skies after a period of absence. We have more energy to say ‘yes’, our outlook is more optimistic, and we simply feel better in our bodies. With the effects of climate change becoming more noticeable as the weather throughout the seasons feels unsettled and uncharacteristic, it’s worth looking to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to help ourselves understand the impact weather can have on our mood and immunity.
The Mental Health Foundation describes SAD as a form of low mood that’s related to the change of season. The cold, dark depths of winter (or a summer that has tipped with rain and dashed dreams of light evenings spent with friends and visits to the beach) can commonly cause changes in behaviour. Monitoring these symptoms is important as SAD can be debilitating for some people and medical treatment may be necessary. The Mental Health Foundation describes some of the signs people should look out for as being:
- Persistent low mood
- Loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities
- Irritable mood
- Change in sleep and appetite
- Decreased energy and clarity
- Reduced contact with others
So, how does this relate to immunity?
Though SAD should be diagnosed by a doctor, there is a clear link between the weather and our mood. This in turn has a flow on effect to our immunity. Feeling unwell in our bodies can feed back to our mood, so immune health is one component of the equation we can focus on. If only bending the weather to our will was so easy!
An article published in the Frontiers of Psychology Journal in 2020 highlighted that stress and low mood has an impact on our wellbeing by affecting our immune system. Co-authored by Cañas-González, Fernández-Nistal, Ramírez and Martínez-Fernández, the group comments that research has suggested “stress and depression produce a dramatic impact on human well-being mainly through impairing the regular function of the immune system and producing a low-chronic inflammation status.” Inflammation leaves you more susceptible to infection and other illness, so treating the root cause rather than the symptom is really important for overall wellness.
This is where a booster like our potentiated pollen could help. We have previously talked about how bee pollen may enhance your liver’s ability to process and eliminate toxins in our blog series. Additionally, its variety of vitamins, minerals and amino acids have been suggested to play a role in helping reduce inflammation. Specifically, bee pollen contains the potent antioxidant quercetin, which is typically used to help fight free radical damage. Our potentiation process makes this goodness more bioavailable for maximum absorption with the aim of helping improve immunity and overall well-being.
Further developing the concept of the ‘mind-body’ connection, Brian E Leonard of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Ireland suggested that changes in the immune system play a role in the physical changes that occur in depression, and that inflammation is beginning to emerge as a contributing factor. While this research is still developing and GPs are the best point of contact for medical advice, the picture is becoming clearer that immune health is an inextricable component of our overall wellbeing.
The weather has the power to affect our mood, which affects our immunity. During the flu and allergy seasons it has the power to impact our immunity if left unaided, which affects our mood. The cycle seems endless!
In a fast-paced world that seems to feel increasingly chaotic, focussing on what is in your control is the best remedy. If you’re curious about ways you could help to boost your immune health to tackle whatever is around the corner, you can follow your curiosity and try out our potentiated bee pollen for yourself here.
Cañas-González B, Fernández-Nistal A, Ramírez JM, Martínez-Fernández V. Influence of Stress and Depression on the Immune System in Patients Evaluated in an Anti-aging Unit. Front Psychol. 2020 Aug 4;11:1844. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01844. PMID: 32849086; PMCID: PMC7417678.
Leonard BE. The concept of depression as a dysfunction of the immune system. Curr Immunol Rev. 2010 Aug;6(3):205-212. doi: 10.2174/157339510791823835. PMID: 21170282; PMCID: PMC3002174.