Micronutrients

Spring fatigue - what's it all about?

from Mag. Margit Weichselbraun
on 16.02.2023

Birds are singing, the first blossoms are opening up, and the fragrance of a new start is wafting through the air – spring is finally here again! Although some of us feel fully rejuvenated at this time of year, others may be afflicted by the notorious “spring fever” – a profound fatigue that can suddenly overwhelm us when the days grow brighter. What is causing our exhaustion ­ and what do our cells need to get a fresh start in the new season?

More light, less melatonin.

What is it about spring that makes our mood so erratic? Why do we have such a sudden thirst for action? Scientists attribute these changed to the pineal gland, which is located in the brain and is responsible for the producing and secreting the sleep hormone melatonin. The longer the night or a dark phase lasts, the more melatonin is released – and the more weak and tired we feel. However, as the days become longer, the melatonin concentration in the blood begins to decrease. This leads to noticeably more energy.

Spring awakening at the physiological level

When the first warm spring rays caress our uncovered skin, the “happiness hormones” that are released awaken our body. It’s almost as though we are reborn. One of these hormones is serotonin. Serotonin increases our drive, improves our well-being, and dispels negative moods and fears. It also plays a role in regulating sugar metabolism, the feeling of satiety and our circadian rhythm.

The sun helps restore our good mood and replenishes vitamin D

We know that basking in spring sun positively affects our mood. Conversely, numerous studies have confirmed that there is a clear correlation between a gloomy mood and a lack of light. In addition to lifting our mood, it is once again time to use the sun to replenish our vitamin D stores, which have been depleted during the long winter months with fewer hours of sunlight. Moderate sunbathing (15 to 20 minutes) during which the hands, face, and parts of the arms and legs are exposed is sufficient. The basic prerequisite for this is a sufficiently high level of UVB radiation, which only occurs during midday, and not using sunscreen. Our body uses the sun’s UVB radiation to create its own vitamin D from a modified cholesterol compound in the skin. A good supply of vitamin D supports our immune system during the transition between seasons.

These micronutrients make us fit for spring:

Effect on cells  and body

Micronutrients

Energy

Certain B vitamins out of the vitamin B complex,
magnesium

Cell protection

zinc, selenium

Circulation / Blood pressure

potassium

Immune system

vitamin D


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Causes of spring fever

Some of us don't get a burst of energy in spring, instead they feel constantly fatigued, sensitive to changes in the weather, and suffer from low blood pressure  throughout the season. Although the precise causes of “spring fever” are still unclear, experts agree on one key factor: our body has difficulty adapting to change. Longer days may disrupt our melatonin-serotonin balance, while rising temperatures can expand blood vessels and lower our blood pressure.

If you feel worn out instead of revitalized, you could do with some external support. In addition to coenzyme Q10 (see box) and certain B vitamins that pull together, the anti-stress mineral magnesium is also a good choice. Magnesium plays a key role in energy production and helps reduce fatigue and exhaustion. A good supply of its physiological partner potassium is also essential. This helps our body maintain normal blood pressure during the change of seasons.

Cell protection is also an issue in spring

When we become exhausted or when we spend too much time in the spring sun, free radicals accumulate in our cells. This, in turn, triggers oxidative stress. The trace elements zinc and selenium neutralize free radicals and thus help to protect the cells from oxidative stress. Increased metabolic activity (e.g., as a result of exhaustion) also leads to increased acid load. Zinc, on the other hand, supports our body in maintaining the acid-base balance.

Conclusion: It doesn’t take much to enjoy spring to the fullest. Quality time with your favorite people, heart-warming sunshine, and the right vital substances are a good start.

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