Winter weather can make our health seem a little worse. When the temperatures get colder, we can be more prone to numerous problems such as respiratory ailments, headaches and mood swings. And even if you focus on eating healthy, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep during the winter, it’s still not necessarily enough. That’s why doctors say certain supplements can be helpful during the colder months and give your health a much-needed boost. Read their top six recommendations.
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Without a doubt, the “number one supplement” to consider in winter is vitamin D, Greg LopezPharmD, Lead Scientist of the Examine supplement database says Best Life. Although our bodies naturally make vitamin D on their own, it must be exposed to sunlight to do so.
“But there’s little sunlight in the winter and we’re also pretty bundled up, which limits sun exposure, all of which lowers vitamin D levels,” she explains. “Getting enough vitamin D in your system is important for musculoskeletal health in general, and it can help give your immune system a little boost to fight off winter infections.”
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Compared to some vitamin D, you may be less familiar with Pycnogenol, which is the brand name of French maritime pine bark extract. But Fred PescatoreMD, a Manhattan-based conventionally trained physician and internist who specializes in nutritional medicine, says he’s a big believer in the antioxidant properties of this supplement in the winter.
According to Pescatore, Pycnogenol’s potential health benefits in the colder months are backed by strong research. A 2021 study found that taking this supplement daily during the dry season “improved skin elasticity and firmness,” he noted.
Other studies have also found that it can “shorten the duration of colds and treat nasal congestion and runny noses due to its natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” adds Pescatore.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help refresh your appearance Soma MandalMD, a board-certified internist with Summit Health in New Providence, New Jersey.
“Ever feel like your skin is dry during the winter? This is a great supplement to help combat dry, flaky skin,” she says.
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You shouldn’t just take care of your skin in winter. Saya Nagori, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Eye Facts, warns that this season’s weather conditions can also significantly affect the health of our eyes. That’s why he recommends taking a lutein supplement right now.
“Lutein is commonly found in leafy greens like kale and spinach and protects against eye strain and blue light damage, both of which we are exposed to more in the winter,” explains Nagori.
Winter is cold and flu season, as many of us are all too aware. To reduce your risk of disease, Lopez suggests supplementing with low levels of zinc.
“Zinc supplementation is mostly helpful for people who have a zinc deficiency that can only be diagnosed by a doctor,” he notes. “If you decide to take zinc pills for weeks or months, I recommend a dose of 20 milligrams or less per day.”
But Lopez says that getting this supplement in another form can also help with an infection.
“Sucking zinc lozenges as soon as you feel the first symptoms of the flu can help limit (but not cure) cold symptoms,” she says.
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Like zinc, vitamin C can help in your fight against certain winter ailments.
“This supplement supports the immune system and can help reduce the duration and severity of a cold or flu.” Zeeshan Afzal, MD, health expert and physician at health care company Welzo, says. “It’s also an antioxidant that can protect against oxidative stress.”
But Afzal points out that one needs to be careful if you want to start using this add-on.
“Vitamin C is generally safe, but high doses can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people,” he notes. “Stick to the recommended dates unless otherwise advised by your healthcare provider.”
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Best Life offers the latest information from top experts, new research and health agencies, but our content is not intended to replace professional guidance. Regarding the medicine you are taking or other health-related questions, always contact your healthcare provider directly.
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