A Naturopath Shares Which Supplements You Should Take During Fall & Winter
As another season of colder weather arrives, let’s make sure our natural medicine cabinets are stocked with some of the most useful supplements that our bodies need during this period. This is the perfect time to focus on building our immune system and nourishing our bodies with more rest, healthy (and real) foods, and targeted supplements.
Try starting with a strong foundation of a healthy breakfast (I love gluten-free hot cereals as the temperature starts to drop), warming herbal teas (especially ones with added health benefits like medicinal mushrooms) and nutrient-dense snacks (I never leave the house without a high fiber bar or trail mix). Once those are in place, consider adding the following supplements to the mix for more benefits:
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, most of us are still low in this important nutrient even after a full summer of spending time outdoors. Not only is vitamin D less available from our environment as the days cloud over and shorten, but our bodies may need more to store for the winter months ahead.
Keep in mind that adequate vitamin D levels should be at least 50nmol/L on your bloodwork, although most research supports levels of 75-125nmol/L as optimal. If you haven’t had your levels checked, talk to your doctor or naturopath! Lower levels have been connected to poor immune function, worse mood, and hormonal issues. Aim for a liquid format that the entire family can use!
Herbal immune support
It’s never too early to keep the common cold and flu away. In fact, building up your immunity naturally before these viruses reach your household is vital to staying healthy.
A daily dose of a combination herbal product containing astragalus, as well as medical mushrooms such as codonopsis and reishi can work wonders (trust me on this one!).These herbs work to boost white cell production and specifically target viruses. They work best as a preventative measure or at the very first signs of a scratchy throat or cough. Plus, there are also child-specific formulas available.
With back-to-school routines in full swing, weekdays can be hectic and stressful. An active B-complex contains all of the B vitamins needed to help boost energy, better manage your stress response, and keep hormones balanced. Active forms of these vitamins are also known as the ‘methylated’ versions so be sure to read labels in order to get maximum benefit. One a day with breakfast or lunch is all you need!
Not everyone may feel they need a multivitamin but when our schedules get busy and we don’t have time to eat regular home-cooked meals, this may be the silver bullet to keep your health at its peak during the colder months.
Keep in mind that all multivitamins are not created equal, so aim to get easy-to-absorb forms of most nutrients plus higher amounts of zinc, selenium, and mixed carotenoids, like lutein and lycopene, whenever possible. It’s often unrealistic to assume you can get adequate amounts of all vitamins and minerals from a single capsule, so formulas that require 2-4 pills per day tend to be more comprehensive and valuable during the fall and winter seasons.
There you have it! Your guide to the right supplements to include in your regimen during the colder months. What’s your go-to supplement for the fall and winter seasons?
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.