5 Essential Supplements for Surviving Winter

As snow blankets our rooftops and the cold wind gusts through the air, we naturally spend more time inside. We often indulge and let healthy eating and exercise habits fall by the wayside during winter. As a result, we can experience feelings of low energy, weight gain and, worst of all, repeated bouts of the cold and flu, which can take weeks to recover from.

Maintaining proper diet and exercise routines can be difficult; however, what is in your control this winter is how you supplement your food intake. This season, turn the tables by introducing these five essential supplements that will boost your immune health, metabolism and provide other benefits. We call this your “Winter Survival Kit.”

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the most important supplement to take during every winter season. Due to less sunlight caused by shorter days, our bodies naturally produce less vitamin D and many Canadians become deficient after failing to meet the recommended daily 400 to 600 IU mark.

The result of vitamin D deficiency includes impaired bone health, reduced immune function, dry skin and mood swings. Few foods in nature contain vitamin D making supplementation the easiest way to improve your vitamin D intake. Make sure you aim for vitamin D3, the type naturally produced by our skin and the easiest to absorb. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

EPA and DHA are staples during the winter months to reduce whole-body inflammation, reinforce immune function, and help regulate optimal brain function.

Omega-3 fatty acids have a laundry list of benefits, including reducing inflammation, reinforcing immune function, and optimizing brain function. It is recommended to have a combined EPA and DHA intake of 500 mg daily to provide these benefits.

Additionally, those on vegetarian or vegan diets can also find supplements with high EPA and DHA content derived from algae and other plant-based sources.

Calcium

For those over 65 who are more prone to hip fractures and bone injuries, calcium is a quintessential supplement to ensure proper bone health over winter. But it’s not just about bones: many people don’t realize that calcium is essential for regulating blood pressure as well.

More than 80 per cent of Canadians over 50 reported inadequate intakes of calcium from food, according to a Health Canada reports.‚Äč

Reishi Mushroom Extract

Reishi is an immunomodulator and adaptogen that helps fend off infections during winter. Whether taken as whole mushrooms or the powdered extract, Reishi is rich in beta-D glucans and triterpenes, which help support cardiovascular health by regulating HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.

Reishi can be taken either as a liquid or capsule supplement, with most dosages ranging from the equivalent of 500 mg to 1,000 mg dried Reishi mushroom powder.

Zinc

Many Canadians have trouble sleeping. As the sun sets earlier, your internal clock is thrown off. To help maintain restful sleep and balance hormone levels, try supplementing with zinc.

Zinc deficiency affects everything from skin health to immune health and proper organ function. Zinc has a recommended intake of 15 mg per day, easily achieved through a zinc supplement or fortifying your diet with nuts and seeds.

Be sure to support your immune system, improve your sleep quality, and boost your metabolism with the supplements above, found at your local CHFA Member health food store!