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I live in Texas where winters are relatively mild compared to the rest of the country. Yet even here, we get plenty of cold, dreary days that seem to inevitably fuel viral and bacterial illnesses and yes, even the blues.
That’s why when winter rolls around, in addition to stocking up our medicine cabinet, I stock up our vitamin cabinet with supplements that get us through the season happier and healthier — and hopefully unscathed.
Here are our five ‘can’t be without’ supplements for winter…
#1 – Zinc
Your immune system is there to fight off all of those germs you’re exposed to during the winter when stuck indoors as the people around you cough and sneeze.
And, if you want that immune system to function at its best, you need to get plenty of the trace mineral zinc in your daily diet.
Not only does zinc help activate certain types of immune cells, but it also keeps your immune system in balance to prevent the out-of-control inflammation that can often accompany infection.
And, it’s even been shown to shorten the duration of the common cold when taken in lozenge form.
Because of that, my suggestion is to keep two types of zinc handy this winter – a daily zinc supplement in either capsule or liquid form and zinc lozenges to fight off any upper respiratory issues as they happen.
#2 – Elderberry
One of the health dangers that come with this season is the increased risk of flu.
That’s why I always stock my supplement cabinet with elderberry.
While some have called into question its support of the immune system, a recent scientific study by researchers from the University of Sydney found that it could be your best defense if you’re hit with the flu.
In fact, they found elderberry fights flu by directly inhibiting the virus’s entry and replication in human cells and strengthening your immune response to the virus.
You can purchase the powerful berry in multiple forms depending on your preference, from capsules to tinctures and even gummies. And, by the way, it tastes so good that even my pickiest child loves it.
#3 – Vitamin C
According to the renowned Cleveland Clinic, vitamin C is “one of the biggest immune system boosters of all”.
This means that if you want to have the healthiest winter ever, a vitamin C supplement should be part of your daily routine.
And, if you have absorption problems, like me, you might choose to take a liposomal C supplement rather than a traditional form as a recent study found that this type results in increased absorption.
#4 – D3
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin – something you’re more likely to be lacking this winter with the dreary days and less time spent outside.
Unfortunately, a lack of this important vitamin has been linked to:
- Weak bones
- Heart disease
- Weight Gain
That’s why even if you don’t take it the rest of the year, adding the vitamin to your winter supplements, when your levels are likely to be lowest is a good move.
#5 – Vitamin E
If there’s one supplement you need for both your inside and out this winter season, it’s vitamin E.
That’s because it’s not only the key to a healthy immune system but using a vitamin E oil on your skin can help fight off the dry, irritated, flaky skin that can be part-and-parcel to the winter winds.
And, since vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, it can help protect you from the free radical damage that you’re exposed to on a daily basis as well as the oxidative stress your body experiences when you do catch an infection, such as the flu.
Winter is here but you don’t have to end up sick, depressed, or suffering from skin problems when you stock your supplement cabinet with the five must-haves above.
- Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response — Ohio State University
- What are the health benefits of zinc? — Medical News Today
- Elderberry compounds could help minimize flu symptoms, study suggests — University of Sydney
- 3 Vitamins That Are Best for Boosting Your Immunity — Cleveland Clinic
- The Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) — Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
- The Truth About Vitamin D: Why You Need Vitamin D — WebMD
- Vitamin E — The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- The role of oxidative stress in influenza virus infection — Microbes and Infection
- [Host defense and oxidative stress signaling in bacterial infection] — Nippon Saikingaku Zasshi [Japanese Journal of Bacteriology]