Staying healthy and energised can be especially hard during winter. The cold, dark weather prevents us from getting some sunshine and a good dose of vitamin D, and most of our favourite fruit and vegetables are no longer available to us. As a result, we tend to lack many essential nutrients which leaves us more vulnerable to the common cold and flu. And after the record-breaking beginning of this flu season, it may be a really smart move to stock up on some general health supplements that can help support your body’s defences.
Besides keeping our bones strong, Vitamin D also strengthens our immune system. But the lack of sunshine makes it hard for our bodies to produce enough of it. This is why taking vitamin D supplements is recommended in the winter. When choosing a vitamin D supplement, try to look for one that’s referred to as D3. Vitamin D3 supplements are obtained from a natural source, as opposed to the synthetic supplements known as vitamin D2. You can find natural vitamin D3 supplements in a pharmacy with a wide range of general health supplements.
There is conflicting evidence regarding the role of vitamin C in the prevention of flu and the common cold. While it does boost the immune system to some degree, there are no studies that show that supplementing with vitamin C helps prevent colds and flu. However, once sick, supplementing with this vitamin has been shown to reduce the severity of the symptoms and the duration of a cold up to 36 hours. So, it may be helpful to have some type of vitamin C supplement on hand once you feel that you’re coming down with a cold.
When it comes to general health supplements, people often overlook minerals such as zinc. However, zinc is one of the most effective supplements you can take to boost your immune system, as it is known to reduce the duration of the cold and flu symptoms. In addition to this, zinc also promotes the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD) which protects the body from free radical damage.
Selenium is a building-block of the enzymes that defend the body from damage. It is also an antioxidant that supports the function of the immune system. While the best way for your body to receive selenium is to eat meat, fish and nuts, if these are against your dietary preferences, you can take it as a supplement. It’s recommended to take 200 microgrammes of selenium a day.