Our bodies are naturally made to adapt to our environment, however because we’re pretty far from ‘natural’ in the modern day world, we don’t always adapt as easily to seasonal changes and temperature drops.
Winter is the time of year when we could use a helping hand to stay healthy and well. There are certain key nutrients we tend to lack during the depths of winter, due to low light levels, availability of different foods, and a certain change in the air which means we’re more in need of nourishment and warmth.
Here are a few supplements that can help you to feel well throughout winter:
It’s obvious that during winter the one thing there’s usually less of is sunshine. Along with the warmth, comes a whole host of benefits, largely due to the high amount of vitamin D we receive from it.
Vitamin D is responsible for the maintenance of healthy bones, teeth and muscles, and is important for regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It can help protect against some types of cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and is important for optimal mood levels. Vitamin D is also incredibly important for the immune system, and in lowering levels of inflammation. It can be difficult to obtain ‘enough’ vitamin D from food sources, especially as our soil is a lot less nutrient dense than it was even fifty years ago.
Food sources high in vitamin D include fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, dairy, beef liver, egg yolks, mushrooms, tofu, fortified cereals. But even if these make regular appearances on your menu, the amount of sunlight most people get is still not as much as we need for our vitamin D levels to be high enough.
In the UK, government health advice has recently cottoned on to the fact that we aren’t getting enough vitamin D, and has officially advised the general public to take a daily vitamin D supplement – especially during the darker months.
If you’re prone to low mood levels, anxiety or are susceptible to stress, 5 HTP is worth looking into. It is said that around 4% to 6% of people have clinical Winter Depression, whereas another 10% to 20% have mild SAD (Seasonal Annual Depression).  Whether you’ve been diagnosed or not, if you feel a low during autumn and winter, you’re not the only one, and supplements like 5 HTP can be very helpful for lightening the mood.
5 HTP is widely used to help with cases of obesity, PMS, migraines, depression, insomnia, anxiety, and addictive behaviours. It increases the production of serotonin, essential for wellbeing, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, sexual function and social behaviour. 
Approximately 90% of the human body’s serotonin levels are found in the gastro intestinal tract, which means what we consume will have a big effect on mood levels. An oral supplement can be a powerful way to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety or fluctuating moods.
You’re probably a lot less likely to opt for salads and leafy greens during winter, which can mean the body becomes deficient in some important vitamins and minerals. Key to the benefits of these greens, is that they hold a lot of the sun’s energy, other vital nutrients such as vitamin K, A, magnesium and folate. A nutrient-dense greens powder can provide you with fifteen different types of greens, allowing for enhanced immunity, more energy, and optimal amounts of dietary fibre.
Incredibly nourishing, gut-healing and exactly the sort of thing our bodies crave in winter; bone broth is nutrient dense, full of collagen and protein, and also helps improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. The gelatine present in bone broth can strengthen bones, improve skin, hair and nails, and has been used for centuries – so you can be sure it’s not just another ‘fad’. Bone broth is strengthening, able to restore vitality and is also great for the immune system. This is definitely a winter staple to have on hand.
Emma is a 500hr qualified Yoga teacher, massage therapist, published writer and wellness blogger. She teaches regular classes and workshops in the South of England and co-teaches retreats and Yoga teacher trainings internationally. Emma’s passion is to help others uncover their full potential, and find their most healthy state of being in both body and mind. Yoga, swimming and cycling are her favourite ways to stay healthy and full of vitality.