The changing of seasons is a great time to clean and organize your nutritional supplements and re-think your routine. The demands on your mind and body vary with the seasons, and adjusting your supplements to meet seasonal needs can help you to look and feel your best all year long!
This year the seasonal change of your supplement routine has added importance as many have spent the last year loading up on immune support to reduce the risk of COVID-19 complications.
Check out these “Spring Supplement Swaps” taking place at my house to help you get started*:
STORING THE ELDERBERRY AND STARTING ALLERGY SUPPORT
Elderberry was a staple at my house over the past year, as I worked to keep my family of four healthy during the pandemic. Now that we are all vaccinated and moving into warmer outdoor months, I check the expiration date, tighten the cap and store the bottles in a cool, dark cupboard. Elderberry is sure to be a part of our routine next winter and also for any airline travel throughout the year.
With two of us (myself included) prone to seasonal allergies, Allergy Support Formula is added to our morning routine. Unlike standard antihistamines, this patient-favorite formula has the added bonus of anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive nutrients like quercetin and proteolytic enzymes. One in the morning is generally enough, occasionally if spending a lot of time outdoors I will take a second capsule in the afternoon.
SWAPPING IMMUNE SUPPORT FOR STRESS SUPPORT
Elderberry was not the only immune support product on our shelf over the past year. Like many of you, we had a number of antiviral and immune-supporting products in the mix like extra zinc, vitamin C, and Vira-Resist immune support herbal blend.
The Vira-Resist and zinc are getting stored for the summer. In years past, I have added zinc to my summer routine to replenish minerals lost with extra sweat and infrared sauna, however having loaded up on zinc this past year we are taking a break from supplementation and focusing on getting zinc through foods like nuts, seeds, beans, and egg yolk.
Vitamin C never leaves my routine. This is an essential vitamin, meaning that your body cannot make it on its own. While it is easy to obtain vitamin C from food, supplemental vitamin C has been well-studied and found to have a number of potential health benefits, including reduction of chronic disease, immune and brain support, and even anti-aging properties! I use topical vitamin C on my face, and take supplemental vitamin C in a buffered form to reduce tummy troubles, either as a capsule or a powder in my smoothie.
Vitamin C has added benefits for those under STRESS. That includes most of us over the past year, don’t you think?! Research has shown that vitamin C helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress and can also lower the output of cortisol in response to stress. Like many parents, I find this last stretch of school in the spring can be exceptionally stressful. The calendar starts to get full and there is a lot to keep track of. Add the stress from the past year, including a virtual school for my boys, and we are all feeling a little run-down! This is when I bring out my bottle of Adreset (another patient favorite), an herbal blend that supports energy and resilience under stress. For my teenage boys preparing for final exams, we occasionally use low-dose melatonin to help with a normal bedtime. Melatonin can be especially helpful when one is overstimulated from screen/computer time. For all of us, I add extra B vitamins, as research has demonstrated the benefit of B vitamins in reducing stress-related symptoms.
LOW VS HIGH DOSE VITAMIN D
Vitamin D, often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin”, is actually a steroid hormone produced from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun. The health benefits of vitamin D are far-reaching and include beneficial effects for bone growth, cellular health, and immune and nervous system function.
I routinely check vitamin D levels on patients, and it is rare for me to find an optimal level in northern Michigan, therefore supplemental vitamin D at higher doses is recommended for many of my patients.
That being said, during the summer months with increased sun exposure, higher doses may not be necessary and even have the potential to be harmful. Why? You can overdose on vitamin D! Vitamin D is one of four fat-soluble vitamins (along with Vitamins A, E, and K), so levels can build up in your system and become toxic. If you are supplementing with higher-dose vitamin D it’s important to check levels about twice yearly.
I am not going to subject my boys to a blood draw this spring, I simply lower their vitamin D dose to not more than 2000 IU daily. For myself, I’m staying at 5000 IU daily because my recent labs showed vitamin D deficiency.
Recommending vitamins and nutritional supplements is not a one-size-fits-all approach. when working with patients, I take into account they are medical history, current symptoms, and use of prescription medication, as well as data from a variety of laboratory and micronutrient testing.
Curious which nutritional supplements may be best for you and your family? Contact us to schedule an appointment!
*The supplement regimens outlined in this article are from my own personal routine. These recommendations are not intended to be used as medical advice, they simply serve as an example. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.