As the nights start to draw in and the lurgy starts to spread around your office, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself.
One way to do this is to make sure your body has the best possible resources to deal with an onslaught of germs and the winter blues – by adding supplements into your diet.
Here’s everything you need to know…
Top up your sunshine
Vitamin D is usually produced in our skin after exposure to sunlight, and it is thought that low vitamin D is a factor in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). “Our natural stores of vitamin D drop in winter and it’s vital for immunity, so we need to keep ourselves topped up,” says Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.
According to Dr Glenville, there are two types of Vitamin D: D2 and D3. “Vitamin D2 is made synthetically from fungus and plant matter. Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) is the same type that is made by the body via exposure to sunlight,” she explains. “Research shows the D3 version as being far superior to the D2 version.”
Dr Glenville recommends Natural Health Practice Vitamin D3 Support, which comes in blackcurrant-flavoured drops.
Stock up on fish oils
The right fish oil supplements can also be a winter mood booster. Dr Glenville says: “I’d suggest a good-quality fish oil supplement containing the ideal ratio of 510mg DHA to 770mg EPA – an omega-3 fatty acid that’s associated with improving mood.”
She also suggests taking a general multivitamin and mineral supplement, as nutrients like B vitamins and zinc can help boost serotonin (a feel-good brain chemical).
Give your immune system some love
Surrounded by snuffles on the bus every morning? Give your immune system a bit of extra help. “I’d suggest a good immune support formula combining zinc, vitamin C and beta glucans,” advises Dr Glenville. “Most of these supplements also contain vitamin D so you may not need to take it separately.”
But don’t waste your money…
Not all supplements are created equal. “Iron ‘tonics’ can be a go-to supplement when people are feeling low and run-down in winter,” explains Dr Glenville. “But iron supplements should only be taken regularly if your iron stores are actually low – something that can be tested by your doctor.”
Instead, she suggests taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement to support “energy and general wellbeing in winter”.
Though supplements are a great way to support your health, it’s still important to prioritise getting the right nutrients from food. Dr Gill Jenkins cautions: “It’s been suggested that vitamin C and garlic supplements may help reduce your risk of getting a cold, but always look to get your nutrients from your diet first.”
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