For folks all around the globe, winter is a time of shortening daylight, dropping temperatures, and time spent cooped up indoors (though the winter season’s months are reversed for the Northern and Southern hemispheres, of course!). People spend less time in the sunshine, and their bodies burn more calories to stay warm.
Both of those physiological effects – and the mental effects that come with them – mean that specific vitamins and supplements should be prioritized in winter compared to the best vitamins for brighter, warmer seasons like spring and summer.
Today, let’s break down seven of the most important supplements for the winter season you should target for maximum bodily health.
Also called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is even more important in winter than during the rest of the year. Your body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but that happens less and less in the winter, both because we spend less time outside and because any time outdoors means thick coats and multiple layers cover up your skin.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is needed for bone health, mental health, and immune system functionality. Lots of people are little vitamin D deficient during winter without even realizing it. In fact, vitamin D deficiency might be at the heart of seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
While you can’t get all the vitamin D you need from sunshine in the winter, you could target healthy vitamin D supplements to help fight off the winter blues and avoid vitamin D deficiency (a widespread phenomenon in folks during winter). You can also prioritize vitamin D-rich foods like leafy greens, including spinach.
Generally, between 6,000 and 2,000 IU or international units of vitamin D per day is ideal.
Vitamin C is also crucially important throughout the year, but especially in the winter months. Also known for its major role in immune system health, vitamin C may help reduce the severity of colds you catch and strengthen the body’s immune system: a major concern during flu season.
Fortunately, you can find vitamin C in various tasty fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits like limes and lemons. That said, you can also find vitamin C in healthy supplements like Hope Health’s Immune+ Organic Tablets, which include a unique blend of vitamin C and healthy ingredients such as Moringa, Astragalus, and Elderberry.
If you want to stay healthy and feel great throughout the holidays, vitamin C is one of the most important supplements to prioritize when you choose your next supplement or vitamin.
The B vitamins are a group of important compounds your body needs for energy production, cellular reproduction, and much more. In the cold months specifically, vitamin B-12 is the most important B vitamin to absorb since it can boost your energy and improve your mood. It’s found in a variety of energy supplements for this reason.
Luckily, vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins can be found in some of the best winter foods as well, including leafy greens, whole grains, red meats, and legumes. If you aren’t sure whether your diet contains enough B vitamins, speak to a dietitian to see whether you need to supplement your B vitamin intake with a dedicated supplement or multivitamin.
Remember, different B vitamins provide different bodily benefits, and you may be deficient in one but not another.
Also important is vitamin E. Most people aren't deficient in vitamin E, as it's a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that your body stores any extra vitamin E from your diet for later use. But vitamin E can still be important in the winter since the dry, cold weather can irritate your skin and make it itchy or blemish-prone.
Vitamin E lotions and supplements may help your skin to retain moisture more capably and decrease discomfort, the appearance of wrinkles, and skin redness. On top of all that, vitamin E is a major antioxidant, which means it captures free radical oxygen molecules that can cause inflammation and tissue damage across the body.
Simply put, vitamin E is just as important as the others. Be sure to include it in your vitamin regimen if you are minorly deficient.
Iron is a key mineral for overall bodily health as it’s needed to produce hemoglobin: the protein that carries oxygen to your body’s tissues. Unfortunately, around 10 million people in the US have an iron deficiency, most of them women.
Women, in particular, should ensure they get plenty of iron throughout the winter to avoid the symptoms of fatigue, headaches, or even minor symptoms like brittle nails. You can find iron in once-a-day holistic supplements as well as supplements explicitly tailored for women’s nutritional needs.
On top of traditional supplements, iron can also be found in red meat, lentils, beans, and leafy greens.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found primarily in fatty fish and fish oil tablets, omega-3 fatty acids provide numerous health benefits, including lowered blood pressure, reduced triglycerides in the blood, and even potentially improved eye and brain health. On top of that, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout your body’s tissues.
Suffice it to say that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is never a good thing. But many people experience minor omega-3 fatty acid deficiency during the winter as their diets change and they eat more red meat instead of fish.
To that end, try to prioritize taking a fish oil supplement or include salmon, trout, and other fatty fish in your diet regularly.
Last but not least is zinc, a key mineral that supports macronutrient metabolism, boosts immune system functionality, and even helps your skin, nails, and hair retain their moisture and elasticity.
Anyone who has dry skin or nails during the winter already knows the importance of zinc! Luckily, zinc is one of the most common supplement ingredients, and it can be found in leafy green vegetables and other staple foods.
In addition, zinc is one of the most common vitamins you can find in multivitamin products. If you like to take a “One-A-Day” multivitamin and hit all of your nutritional benchmarks quickly and easily, you can rest assured zinc will be included as one of the active ingredients.
In the end, you need all the same nutrients and vitamins in winter as you do throughout the rest of the year. But the decreased daylight and time spent outside, along with adjustments in your diet, may require you to take certain extra vitamins or swap out your vitamin picks for new choices until the days get longer once again.
If you want to make sure you only take vitamins with healthy, organic ingredients sourced sustainably, Hope Health is the place to go. In fact, we offer a variety of supplements and vitamins for many needs, including brain health, immune system support, and more. Check out our online store today and see for yourself!