Given the shorter days and colder weather, it can be extra difficult to stay healthy and maintain your energy levels during winter. Exercise is often replaced with cosy nights spent wrapped in a blanket on the couch and we don’t get to spend as much time outdoors, which means we become short on vitamin D.
Then, there’s also the fact that most of our favourite fruit and vegetables are no longer available to us. So, our healthy eating habits can often fall by the wayside in the winter.
And all of this can lay the foundation for a weakened immune system, posing a greater risk of falling ill. And during these uncertain Covid-19 times, that’s the last thing you want, right?
These are just some of the reasons why you may want to consider supplementing with vitamins this winter. Combined with 8 hours of sleep, this can be the easiest and most effective way to stay healthy and energised all winter long.
And I’m the living proof that this practice works. I’ve been doing this for 4 years in a row and have managed to avoid catching the flu, unlike previous seasons. And since I don’t like going to pharmacies during flu season where I’m more likely to catch a bug from someone, I simply order my vitamins online from a reliable e-pharmacy.
Whether shopping for vitamins online or from a local pharmacy, you’ll notice there’s an incredibly wide range. Although normally we don’t usually need to supplement with most of them, the following are of crucial importance during the colder season.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, pollutants as well as infections. This water-soluble vitamin has been considered some of the best immune system boosters.
Studies have shown that vitamin C has antiviral properties that may help improve overall immunity and reduce the duration and severity of colds and the flu, for which there’s no medication. Since the body doesn’t produce this vitamin, it’s imperative to get it through diet or supplements.
During the warm months when we have access to a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, vitamin C isn’t something that most people lack. However, this can often change in winter, which is why taking a vitamin C supplement is strongly encouraged.
Vitamin C supplements are found in a variety of forms – from tasty lozenges to powdered drinks and convenient capsules. If you plan on taking this supplement, keep in mind that the recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 90mg for men, 75mg for women and 25mg for children.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D improves the ability of the body to absorb calcium, thus helping to keep the bones and joints strong and healthy. It’s also a nutrient that helps promote a positive mood, which is why we feel so much happier when the weather is sunny.
But recent studies have found that this vitamin is also linked with our immune response and being deficient in it can increase our susceptibility to infection. Unlike other vitamins that can be obtained from food, vitamin D is produced in our body when we’re exposed to sunlight.
And this can become difficult when the days are shorter and the weather is cloudy which is why vitamin D deficiency is very common during the winter. So, if there’s one type of vitamin supplement you definitely need in the winter, it’s this one.
But not all vitamin D supplements are made equal. You may want to look for a vitamin D3 supplement as opposed to a D2 one. The D3 indicates that the vitamin has been derived from a natural source, as opposed to the synthetic alternative known as vitamin D2.
In the absence of sunlight, the recommended daily dose of vitamin for adults is 600 IU. Some calcium supplements can come with added vitamin D, so be careful around the dosage if you’re already supplementing with calcium.
3. Vitamin A
Most people are already aware that vitamin A (retinol) helps repair skin and is crucial for maintaining healthy vision. But did you know that vitamin A deficiency has been linked with a reduced immune response? The best sources for this vitamin are dairy products, eggs yolks, liver and fatty fish.
This means, that if your diet lacks these foods, there’s a high chance that you’re deficient in vitamin D which can put you at a greater risk of catching the flu or other seasonal infections.
If you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply not a fan of vitamin A-rich foods, it’s crucial for your health that you take a supplement to help you meet the daily requirements.
The recommended daily dose is 600mcgs for women and 900mcg for men. Make sure not to exceed this dose as high levels of vitamin A can cause liver problems.
Many of us experience a drop in energy during the winter. To keep yourself up and going, consider supplementing with B-vitamins. This energetic little group also known as B complex includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin).
Though all these vitamins have different functions, together they are responsible for converting carbohydrates into energy and help metabolise fats and protein for fuel. As a result, supplementing with B complex can improve your mood and help deter the winter blues.
And the fact it helps boost your metabolism means that you get to burn fat more efficiently – thus preventing you from getting out in spring with a few extra centimeters on your waist.
The recommended daily amount differs depending on the supplement, so make sure to check out the instructions on the product. B-vitamins don’t have upper intake levels which means that it’s unlikely that you experience adverse reactions if you take a higher dose than it’s recommended.
5. Vitamin E Oil
For those of you that struggle with dry, flaky skin in cooler weather, vitamin E oil might be an excellent addition to your personal care routine. While it’s not your typical pill supplement, applying vitamin E topically provides the skin with a powerful dose of it.
You just need to rub it on affected areas just as you would a body lotion. Vitamin E oil often comes mixed with other oils such as almond, apricot or avocado which all have a plethora of benefits for the skin.
On top of being an excellent moisturiser, vitamin E oil is also an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage.