Well we are officially a few weeks into winter and I am already well and truly over it! Arrghhhh! But there is so looooong to go?! As I sit here writing this article, it is hailing outside, and my slippers are only just keeping my toes warm….it was literally only a few weeks ago that I thought winter might just turn out to be somewhat pleasant….but who am I kidding, its winter baby and it’s here for at least the next 3 months!
As we head into these dark and cold winter months, coughs and sniffles become more willing to come out and “play”. Although our immune system is constantly working to keep us fit and healthy, in winter our immune system is under added pressure fighting off those bacterial and viral infections.
Many people will fly through winter with just a couple of sniffles but others may end up with terrible coughs or sinus issues that seem to just hang around. Why is it, that some get away with it and others don’t?
Just remember we are all biochemically different. We take on nutrients depending on what our body is trying to deal with.
There are several factors that will impact upon our nutrient uptake and some examples include:
- Digestive issues general gut health
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic conditions, e.g. Cardiovascular
- Quality of our food
- Quality of soil our food is grown in
- Stressors our body might be under
As you can see, even if you feel like you are having a healthy diet, it might still be hard to get all those great nutrients into our body.
Nutrient deficiencies may still be evident and that is why it is believed that taking a multi of some description is advised as a top up to an already healthy diet.
To confirm this, recent healthy studies have shown the positive impact taking a multi has on cellular health presenting the positive benefits of taking a multi and how this may promote healthy ageing reducing the risk of chronic disease.
So what is a multi?
Essentially a multi is a supplement with vitamins and minerals and sometimes herbal extracts which is intended to supplement your diet which hopefully already consists of as many whole natural foods (i.e. limited processed foods).
Multi vitamin/mineral supplements may be broad spectrum meaning they provide you with all the essential vitamins and minerals, or they may be more specific to needs such as energy/stress or pregnancy and therefore include targeted nutrients with a slightly higher dose to cater for these needs.
A winter multi usually includes the key micro nutrients known to help support healthy immunity. These micro nutrients have been well researched and proven to show their important role for immune function which I will explain a little further soon.
But also what we now know is the essential role herbal extracts play for immunity. The important phytochemicals that are found in these herbs work synergistically with the micro nutrients to help support the function of important bodily systems – such as the immune system.
So it makes sense really to support your immune system during winter – where there are extra demands for key nutrients – by taking a targeted multi such as the Nutra Life Winter Multi.
This is a great supplement to help support you through winter. It not only has your key vitamins and minerals but also includes some herbal extracts that are well known to help support your immune function. Plus it also looks as supporting your energy something that is super important as energy is often depleted during a cold. Here is a breakdown;
Vitamin C – this will not help get rid of a cold, but what it will do is help boost your immune function. This vitamin plays an essential role within the immune system including enhancing white blood cell function and activity (protect the body from infections), increasing interferon levels (immune signalling proteins), antibody levels and responses (essential for immune function) as well as providing really important antioxidant activity.
Beta Carotene – is a pigment found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots and nectarines (think orange and yellow!). Beta Carotene is the precursor to Vitamin A. What this means, is that once ingested beta carotene can turn into retinol which is the active form of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the mucosal surfaces of the respiratory system. This surface has its own immune defence system, able to trap and detect attacking bacteria or virus’ preventing these micro-organisms entering your lungs and other vital organs. Vitamin A feeds these mucosal cells keeping them healthy!
Vitamin A also helps to increase antibody response, enhances white blood cell function, and is a potent antioxidant helping to mop up any oxidative damage that naturally occurs when you have an infection.
Selenium – this mineral plays a vital role for white blood cell production and function. It helps to stimulate the thymus gland (an important immune organ) to function properly, promoting the development of these important immune cells that protect the body from bacteria and virus’.
A deficiency in selenium has been shown to present with impaired immune function. And this is super important considering it is well known that New Zealand soil is deficient in Selenium.
Zinc – Studies show that if you boost your zinc intake at the very onset of a cold you have a better chance of reducing the severity and length of a cold.
This is because Zinc is able to boost the production and function of important immune cells as well as also having anti-viral capabilities.
Zinc (and Selenium) levels deplete pretty quickly during a cold and because our soil is deficient in this important mineral as we don’t often eat foods high in Zinc (seeds, chickpeas, liver, oysters, seafood) it is another good reason to supplement during winter.
Vitamin B complex – It is commonly known that a vitamin B complex will help with energy and this is really important during a cold when you are often feeling fatigued. Each B vitamin has its own unique role in energy production which is why it is important to supplement the B vitamins as a family or complex.
But did you know that B6 is also really important for the lymphatic system (how immune cells travel), as well as the production and function of antibodies? A B6 deficiency can be seen in people with supressed immune function which indicates the important role this vitamin has for healthy immune function.
B12 is important for regulating immune function – ensuring the production of white blood cells. A deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to increase the risk of infections.
Astragalus – commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the root of this plant has been used for thousands of years to help boost the immune system as well as support stress (common side effect of having a cold!).
Astragalus has the ability to trigger important immune cells to help not only fight micro-organisms but also to help to gobble them up and get rid of them!
This amazing plant is also known as an adaptogen meaning it helps to the body to adapt to stress. Stress is a natural biochemical reaction that occurs during a cold, as the infection itself is regarded as a stressor to the body.
Olive Leaf – this powerful antioxidant is a favourite winter nutrient. The phytochemicals found in olive leaf have the ability to boost immune function by enhancing phagocytosis which is the ingestion of invading micro-organisms. It is particularly good at eating up virus’ so perfect for the winter season!
Olive leaf is also known to interfere with virus replication as well as increase numbers of antibodies.
With this many amazing nutrients it makes sense to supplement with this easy one-a-day capsule.
If you have any questions on any of these nutrients or on this particular supplement, just ask any of the lovely staff members who are more than happy to help you out.
In the meantime rug up out there!