Winter has well and truly arrived, with all the usual challenges it brings. Cold temperatures, icy roads, gloomy days and, for many, illnesses. With so much to watch out for during this winter time, it’s important to know your best defenses to avoid catching something you don’t want, like one of these dreaded winter diseases.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how essential trace minerals can help you avoid getting sick this season. Read on to discover the five essentials that can protect you and keep you healthy!
Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many physiological processes in the body, including protein synthesis and energy production. It helps boost the immune system, making it an important tool in preventing and fighting colds and other illnesses during the winter months. Likewise, it is also able to facilitate digestion, contributing to the optimal functioning of our digestive system and strengthening our ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals from food sources.
Additionally, magnesium is known for its role in reducing stress levels, which may help decrease susceptibility to certain diseases. Studies have also shown that magnesium may play a role in relieving symptoms associated with asthma and allergies, which can worsen in colder months due to changes in indoor humidity levels.
The recommended daily dose of magnesium supplements varies by age but is generally between 200 and 400 mg per day.
Winter brings colds, flus and other illnesses that can strike at any time. Fortunately, studies have shown that zinc can be an ally in the fight against winter illnesses. One study found that people who took a zinc supplement for five months before the winter season were 21% less likely to catch a cold than those who didn’t.
Zinc has been found to block the replication of respiratory viruses and is associated with a shorter duration of illnesses such as the common cold. People who lack essential vitamins and minerals during the winter months, especially zinc, may be more susceptible to catching a cold or another virus. Therefore, making sure you’re consuming adequate amounts of zinc, whether through diet or supplements, can help protect you against winter germs.
The recommended daily dose for zinc supplements is 15 mg for adults over 18 and 8 to 11 mg for children under 5.
Iron is one of the most essential trace minerals for maintaining a healthy immune system, which makes it very beneficial for preventing and treating winter illnesses. Iron helps our bodies absorb important vitamins and proteins, giving us more energy and keeping us strong in cold weather. An iron deficiency can make us more susceptible to viruses and diseases. It is therefore important to consume foods or supplements rich in iron throughout the winter season. A diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, fortified breakfast cereals, and lean red meats can help boost hemoglobin production in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Supplements containing iron should not exceed 45 mg per day, but it is always best to consult a doctor before taking a new supplement. With proper supplementation during the colder months, we can stay healthy through winter and beyond!
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is thought to be important for our protection against illnesses, including those that occur during the winter months. Studies have shown that having enough selenium in our diet can boost our immune system, which can make us more resistant to colds, flus and other winter illnesses.
Selenium supplementation, combined with other micronutrients such as zinc and vitamin C, can help strengthen the body’s natural defenses and better prepare us for the seasonal illnesses we may encounter. Fortunately, selenium is not hard to find! it is found naturally in many foods such as Brazil nuts, mushrooms, tuna, and sunflower seeds. To boost our immunity, selenium supplementation should not exceed 400 mcg per day.
Chromium is a trace mineral with multiple health benefits, and its ability to affect our immune system makes it particularly useful during the winter months. Studies have suggested that the antioxidant properties of chromium can reduce inflammation in the body, thereby reducing our risk of infection from winter illnesses.
Even more, chromium helps support the necessary production of white blood cells, thereby enhancing our body’s ability to defend itself against viruses, bacteria, and other threats. Likewise, chromium can boost glucose tolerance in the body and reduce fatigue. This is especially important during the winter season, when energy levels tend to be low due to reduced exposure to sunlight.
Chromium supplementation varies from person to person. In general, it is recommended to start with a low dosage of 200 mcg per day, monitor it and adjust from there. For people with diabetes or glucose intolerance, up to 1000 mcg can be taken daily for therapeutic purposes. However, it is important to note that chromium has not been proven as a preventative measure and should not be used as such. It is best to consult a healthcare professional before beginning any form of chromium supplementation, as excessive amounts can lead to unwanted side effects such as nausea, vomiting, rashes and headaches.