When it comes to our health we tend not to think about our vitamin and mineral levels as being at the top of our list of things to improve. Yet it is these chemicals resources that we thrive off in maintaining optimal bodily functions that keep us alive and well.
And with the weather is turning which means our body’s needs are changing too. There is a reduction in physical activity, lack of sun exposure, and colder temperatures leaving many of us open to potential health risks over the coming months.
Of course, no matter what time of year it may be we all ought to place great importance on looking after our health inside and out, however with the elements going against us a little more (us Brits love any excuse not to venture outdoors when the weather isn’t grand!) it needs to be at the forefront of our minds.
Over the past few months, I have been suffering from lethargy, dry skin, and poor digestion (due to a relapse), I have done all I can to help myself in order to get back to a healthy and happy state. Though even through making positive changes to my activity levels, sleeping pattern, and food intake I wasn’t seeing much of a difference. It was fortunate at the time that the team at Link Nutrition reached out to me, so I asked them to see what might help. Having adopted more of a plant-based lifestyle, they recommended two supplements to be taken along with my existing daily routines to see if they could boost my health.
I have put together a little bit of information about the two supplements that I have tried out for over a month and shared the results I have found so far to show you what effect they can have.
Best Food Sources: oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as wholegrain cereals.
The most common deficiency for children and adults to have worldwide is vitamin D3. This is due to lack of consumption of dietary sources including the vitamin, as well as low levels of sensible exposure to sunlight (1). Vitamin D3 helps to maintain a healthy immune system, obtaining good levels of calcium in the blood, and supporting bones and teeth. There have also been studies showing the improvement of muscle function which can prevent suffering from joint or muscular pains (2).
We are more at risk of falling into vitamin D during the winter months as there is a reduction of daylight hours as well as the weather being much colder making us less likely to venture outdoors. Unfortunately, this does more exposed to falling ill over the winter, so it is to our benefit that we look after ourselves by increasing our vitamin D3 intake.
Since taking a vitamin D3 (1000iu) every day, I have slowly noticed positive signs that my body is thriving better with having healthier nails (winner!). Although I have been taking time away from being active for a while, I really do feel stronger in myself which means that my body is responding to the additional intake that has been missing.
Best food sources: spinach, brown rice, legumes, beans, and dark chocolate.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is very important to help regulate sleep and support recovery after exercise by aiding normal protein synthesis (3). It has also been shown to help fight depression (4) by encouraging our physical and mental state to be in good form. There are also many other health issues that magnesium can help to combat such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammatory bowel diseases (read more here).
Although there is a good range of food sources to get in magnesium there is still a lack of consumption within a common dietary intake. Switching to a more plant-based lifestyle can improve magnesium levels greatly due to the highest sources being grown from the ground. However, it is advised that having an additional supplement of this mineral can really benefit your overall health.
I have found that my energy levels are on the rise, which is not only helping to increase productivity during the day but also helping me to think clearly. Having recently gone through a severe relapse in my mental health, it has been difficult to think positively about myself, therefore I didn’t want to do anything to change. Since introducing this supplement alongside CBT and improved food intake, I have noticed a huge jump forward in my mood and health.
Before I round this post off…
I do want to say that every single person is different meaning that the results of taking supplements will be different depending on the genetics and lifestyle of an individual. This is was not written to advocate taking supplements permanently or as the only means of acquiring to all your recommended daily nutritional needs. It was written with the intention to express my own experience and knowledge gained from finding more about the vitamins and minerals that my body has been missing the most.
Please seek professional medical advice before taking anything in addition to your food and drink. Also always think of your own lifestyle, symptoms, and needs when considering changing anything; you are one of a kind, take care of yourself with that in mind.
- Holick, M. F. (2011). Vitamin D deficiency in 2010: health benefits of vitamin D and sunlight: a D-bate. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7(2), 73.
- Grant, W. B., & Holick, M. F. (2005). Benefits and requirements of vitamin D for optimal health: a review. Altern Med Rev, 10(2), 94-111.
- De Baaij, J. H., Hoenderop, J. G., & Bindels, R. J. (2015). Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiological reviews, 95(1), 1-46.
- Serefko, A., Szopa, A., Wlaź, P., Nowak, G., Radziwoń-Zaleska, M., Skalski, M., & Poleszak, E. (2013). Magnesium in depression. Pharmacological Reports, 65(3), 547-554.