These three little helpers support the body during the cold season
A healthy and balanced diet usually gives the human body everything it needs. In autumn and winter, that is often not enough, and there are three little helpers in particular that help us stay healthy: vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D.
Mavie editorial team
Vitamin C is mainly found in fruit and vegetables, and here the supply in the cold season is not as rich and varied as in summer. The body cannot produce this vitamin itself, so it is dependent on regular, sufficient intake. The daily requirement of 95 to 115 mg can usually be easily reached with five portions of fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C spread throughout the day. Distribution is important because the body excretes most of a dose that is too high if taken all at once.
In winter, the range of seasonal fruit and vegetables is reduced, so many people like to use the classic food supplement vitamin C, usually in the form of capsules or effervescent tablets. This makes sense as long as the dosage does not exceed 250 to a maximum of 1000 mg - everything that is taken in in large doses at once or too much in total is excreted by the body immediately in the urine. Preparations that release the active ingredient in a delayed form throughout the day are ideal. This is how you get the ideal result for your body and avoid confirming the common stereotype of “expensive urine”.
The micronutrient for skin and hair
Vitamin C supplements are often combined with zinc, and that makes perfect sense. The body cannot produce this micronutrient itself, but it needs it to survive. In addition to its importance for the skin, mucous membranes, hair and nails, zinc is necessary for 300 enzymes, for the function of various hormones, for cell growth, wound healing and as an effective fighter against free radicals. And because vitamin C increases the effectiveness of zinc, sharing it makes sense.
The body normally absorbs this micronutrient from red meat, corn, millet or seafood, for example. A deficiency can still occur because, for example, zinc suppliers such as soybeans also contain a lot of iron, which in turn inhibits the absorption of zinc. The same applies here, however, if you help with capsules or drops: It is essential to pay attention to the dosage, which should under no circumstances exceed 10 to 15 mg and to be on the safe side consult a doctor. Because of the possible side effects of an overdose, such as iron deficiency, control is needed.
Common disease vitamin D deficiency
While vitamin C or zinc can be deficient in the cold season, vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, is definitely deficient in winter to such an extent that one can almost speak of a widespread disease. This is also reinforced by the fact that the increased use of sunscreens with a high factor sometimes limits absorption, even in summer. Because the body's own production only works properly if the skin receives enough UV radiation. However, illnesses, especially in the intestinal area, or taking certain medications can also lead to vitamin D deficiency. An undersupply cannot be compensated for through nutrition because there are too few foods that contain sufficient vitamin D.
For this reason, vitamin D preparations are usually prescribed in the form of drops or capsules during medical examinations during the cold season – with precise instructions for dosing. If you buy these products over the counter as a dietary supplement, you should also seek advice to be on the safe side if it is a product with more than 1,000 units. Because an overdose can lead to health problems in the long term, for example for the kidneys.
For most people, the "fruit and vegetable morale" drops in winter due to a less lavish and varied offer. It can therefore make sense to take vitamin C supplements in the right dosage - especially since the body cannot produce this vitamin itself. Zinc, which the body needs not only for skin, hair and nails, but also for the immune system, also makes sense as a dietary supplement. Vitamin D supplements are particularly important, as practically everyone develops a deficiency in the cold, sunless months. Here, however, the following applies to a particularly large extent: Anything with a dosage of more than 1,000 units should be discussed with a doctor.
Mag.a pharm. Sonja Inwinkl-Sissulak studied pharmacy in Innsbruck, then worked in pharmacies in the city of Salzburg and in Seekirchen am Wallersee, where she also lives. She has managed the IRIS pharmacy as a concessionaire for ten years.
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