Find out what vitamins/supplements you should be taking and when!
By Brenna Robinson
Most people have a medicine cabinet full of vitamins and supplements they have collected for every problem from colds to energy. You may be asking yourself the question, do I really need to take all of these? It is almost impossible to keep up with the latest recommendations, a newly researched supplement or vitamin touting its benefits seems to pop up every day. Attempting to take every vitamin or supplement that is recommended can be costly and overwhelming, not to mention exhausting. Are you one of those people that take so many pills in the morning that it looks like a breakfast? So the question is what is essential and what is not? The answer may be in the seasons. Your body has different needs at different times of the year.
For instance, in summer you are less likely to get a cold, you spend more time outdoors, and there are lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to eat. You may not need to take that vitamin C tablet during the summer, you will get plenty from the fruits that you love. And what about that highly recommended vitamin D3 tablet you take, studies show you only need 20 minutes of direct sunlight to get your recommended dose. You are less likely to get a cold, so no need to fill up on immune boosting supplements either. Many people have seasonal affective disorder during cold winter months, but often feel better during warmer weather. If you are in this group, you may find that you can hold off on mood boosting supplements until colder weather arrives. So what do you need to take during this time? Sun exposure actually depletes folic acid. A study the Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that UV exposure depletes Folate levels in young women (Folic Acid Level in Young Women: Study, 2013). Folic Acid is important for women that plan on becoming pregnant because it protects the fetus from birth defects of the spine and the brain. It is not only important for women of childbearing age, but everyone in the prevention of anemia, which can make a person tired and irritable. The summer is hard on your skin so continue taking Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and coconut oil to nourish your skin and help prevent sunburn and wrinkles. Summer is the time when you can take the least amount of vitamins and supplements, so enjoy a break and use your savings towards a vacation.
Fall is back to school, bringing colds and flus to your home via your children. Do not wait until it’s too late, this is the time to start boosting your immune system. Begin taking vitamin C, Zinc, Astragulus, Echinacea, and Ginseng to protect yourself. You may want to think about starting back on those mood boosting supplements such as St. Johns Wort, vitamin B complexes, and 5-HTP. Fall can be stressful since activities resume and the holidays can sneak up on us very fast.
Winters can be long, depending on the climate you live in, but no matter where you live the holidays are stressful. If you haven’t already begun taking your mood boosting supplements, now is the time. If your mood is not suffering, but you feel yourself low on energy from all the festivities, supplements such as vitamin B complex, COQ10, Magnesium, and Asian Ginseng are great energy boosters without the crash that caffeine brings. Use caution when selecting energy boosters with multiple ingredients listed, many of these contain ingredients that can cause unwanted side effects such as an increase in heart rate and palpitations. Always talk to a pharmacist or doctor when choosing a multi-ingredient energy booster. Remember to take your vitamin D3 now, since you are most likely not getting a lot of direct sunlight. Illnesses are still plaguing many people during this time and some supplements can actually help you fight off viruses and infections. Olive leaf is a great antiviral and antibacterial supplement, you should start taking this as soon as you begin to feel sick. It may stave off a more serious virus or infection, but remember to be seen by a doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. Most viruses last 7 to 14 days, anything past this point should require a doctor’s attention. If you do need an antibiotic, remember to take a probiotic since antibiotics destroy the healthy bacteria in the gut resulting in gastrointestinal upset and yeast infections.
Spring is finally here and while it means summer is on its way, more and more people are dealing with pollen allergies. Vitamin C actually has antihistamine producing qualities, so keep taking this until your allergy season subsides. Stinging nettle helps with inflammation and contains histamine, helping your body build up a tolerance to the histamine your body produces from the pollen Quercetin is another must supplement if you suffer from pollen allergies, it acts like an antihistamine without the drowsy effects many over the counter drugs can cause.
Your body’s needs are different in each season. Choosing which vitamins and supplements to take can be confusing, but listening to your body’s needs can help you decide and save you money. Don’t waste your money taking vitamins and supplements that mother nature already provides.