Getting nutrients from food is always the way to go, however sometimes we need to “supplement” our diet with vitamins. One of those times is during the winter. The days are shorter, the weather is colder and our bodies become much more susceptible to falling ill to bugs and the winter blues.
Consider adding these supplements to your routine to get a jump start on staying healthy all winter long!
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps build strong bones along with calcium. However, recent studies show that vitamin D increases the level of serotonin, relieving signs of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or also known as the winter blues. SAD can cause fatigue and feelings of sadness. Let’s face it, who doesn’t have those days in the winter???
The body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but how many of us see the sun in the winter? If you live where I live in the North East, the sun goes down at 4:30. Many people don’t get out of work until 5 when it’s already dark! Vitamin D is found naturally in fish, fortified grains/dairy and egg yolks. The RDA of Vitamin D is between 600-800 IUs depending on age. Look for a supplement that contains vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, which is the natural form of vitamin D.
Fish Oil/Flax Oil: Omega 3 fatty acids help the brain cells use neurotransmitters more efficiently. Studies show that omega 3’s help improve mood, and ease symptoms of depression. The most readily available sources of omega 3’s are found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines and anchovies or in vegan sources such as flaxseeds, seaweed and walnuts. If you don’t eat fish or can’t get enough omega 3’s in your diet, consider taking a supplement containing 650 mg of omega 3’s.
Probiotic: I’ve discussed the benefits of probiotics before, you can read more here. The research on the importance of probiotics is fascinating! They help control everything from chronic digestive disorders, hormone balance as well as immunity. Having a healthy microflora will keep your immune system strong to fight off sore throats and stuffy noses.
Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, tempeh and miso. My favorite way to get probiotics is with miso soup, perfect for breakfast on cold mornings or as a healing dinner at the end of the day. If you don’t eat these foods on a regular basis, consider taking a supplement. Look for a supplement that has the specific genus and species of the probiotic organism such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Also look for a supplement that contains at least 15 billion live organisms in a single dose. And, always keep them refrigerated if the label indicates.
My favorite supplement company is Metagenics, which is sold through practitioners only. Contact me if you would like to use my practitioner code to purchase supplements.
As always, check with your doctor before taking any supplements.