Different vitamins are applicable at various times of the year, for example, in the summer months you’re more likely to get an abundance of Vitamin D given that more hours of sunlight are available during the day. In the winter however when the sun is less intense it is difficult to get the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D so most medical practitioners would recommend supplementing with Vitamin D Tablets. In the summer months around 15 minutes of sun at midday is enough to get your daily allowance but the equivalent amount in terms of Vitamin D as a supplement for the winter months is around 600IU.
As we’ve all learnt in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vitamin D is essential to keep a strong and healthy immune system. It has been widely published that those with vitamin D deficiencies have suffered worse with COVID-19 than those who take the recommended daily amount. Alongside Vitamin D, Zinc is also a key player in terms of winter vitamins. It works alongside Vitamin D to keep your immune system working at its peak, so in the winter months when colds, flu’s and viruses are at their worst, Zinc and Vitamin D are essential.
Vitamin C is important all year round but in particular in the winter months, it helps to grow, develop and repair tissue in your body. Tissue damage isn’t always caused by sporting injuries or muscle strains, it can occur as part of a cold or virus. When you get a cough and your chest hurts, this is due to inflammation of the tissue, a healthy amount of vitamin C would ensure that your body repairs itself quicker.
Another important vitamin is iron. A lack of iron and vitamin D are the two most common reasons for people feeling sluggish in the winter months. We’ve covered Vitamin D in terms of the lack of sunlight but a lack of iron can cause varying levels of anaemia which lead to you looking pale, having no energy and in more severe cases leaves you with very pale skin, sickness and dizziness. One of the interesting things about iron and how your body takes it in is that when taken with certain foods and drinks it will actually have more of a benefit, this is also the case with other vitamins. For example, Vitamin C and iron go together perfectly to ensure that your body takes as much of the nutrient in as possible. If you were to eat broccoli then it is recommended you drink orange juice at the same time as this increases the level of iron you take in from the broccoli.
Vitamin B is split into a variety of different sub-vitamins known collectively as ‘Vitamin B Complex’ which contain Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B-12 – of which B12 is perhaps the most common. B Vitamins also help your immune system in the same way that Vitamin D and Zinc do but also help improve your mood, your cell renewal and the health of your overall general nervous system.
A one a day multivitamin is a great way of making sure that you are getting everything you need. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking that vitamin D is the most important, getting an ultra high dose of it like 4000IU and just taking that, there is no point in having very high levels of one vitamin and then low levels of the others as the end result will be the same. The only downside to multivitamins is that the vitamins are at very low levels when compared with dedicated vitamins so in all likelihood they won’t be enough to get rid of a deficiency you may have.
It is always recommended that you get vitamins directly from your food whenever possible as you can take them in better. As food passes through your digestive system the nutrients go into your bloodstream and then into the relevant place in your body. The problem with vitamins in tablet, capsule or drop form is that a lot of the goodness tends to pass through your body and go out in your urine rather than being taken in by your body. This isn’t to say people shouldn’t take multivitamins, it is very important that your body has healthy levels of vitamins and nutrients as without it you will feel under the weather, lethargic and tired throughout most of the winter months. Once the summer comes around again you can start to reduce your Vitamin D intake again as you will no doubt get enough from the sun. People who work frequently indoors may still need to take supplements as they would in the winter though.