In winter the cold season begins and the immune system works at full speed. You can read which vitamins can support the body here.
Vitamins The body needs it not only in winter, but every day. They are involved in numerous vital processes. However, there are vitamins that can be useful, especially in cold weather. You can read what they are here.
The body needs these vitamins especially in winter
There are a total of four fat-soluble and nine water-soluble vitamins. All of them should be consumed through food every day to provide the body with the nutrients it needs. However, there are four vitamins that are especially important in winter:
Vitamin D in winter: why dietary supplements can be useful
Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced by the body using UV rays. How many minutes or hours a day you need to spend in the sun to get enough vitamin D depends on many factors. Among other things, the time of year and the day. In winter the sun in this country is not as intense as in summer. So you have to spend more time outside to get enough vitamin D. The Federal Office of Public Health provides guidance for light, light-medium and dark skin types. Here is the overview:
Light skin types:
|January and December||>4 hours||1.5 to 2.5 hours||too little sun to be sufficient vitamin D produce|
|February and November||2.5-3.5 hours||From 30 minutes to 1.5 hours||2 or 3 hours|
Medium skin types:
|January and December||>5 hours||from 2 to 7 hours||too little sun to be sufficient vitamin D produce|
|February and November||from 3 to 5 hours||From 45 minutes to 2.5 hours||too little sun to be sufficient vitamin D produce|
Dark skin types:
|January and December||>7h||too little sun to be sufficient vitamin D produce||too little sun to be sufficient vitamin D produce|
|February and November||from 4 to 8 hours||From 1.5 hours to 5 hours||too little sun to be sufficient vitamin D produce|
As can be seen from the tables, in the months of January and December it is difficult to take in a sufficient amount of vitamin D on a daily basis, even for fair skin types. According to the RKI, in winter the body can draw on its reserves of vitamin D in adipose and muscle tissue. However, it becomes problematic if these storage facilities are not sufficiently filled even in summer. The reasons may be different, as the climate also plays an important role in the production of vitamin D in summer. Illnesses such as gastrointestinal inflammation or certain medications can also make it difficult to absorb vitamin D.
If you want to know more about your vitamin D stores, you can have a blood test done by your doctor. However, the health insurance company will only cover the costs if there is suspicion of a defect. A good vitamin D level is between 30 and 40 nanograms per milliliter. If you have less, you should consider supplementing with vitamin D tablets in the winter. The sunshine vitamin is hardly contained in foods. Oily fish and mushrooms, among other things, can contribute to the winter supply.
Vitamin C in winter: does it make sense?
The best-known vitamin is vitamin C. It protects cells from oxidative stress and supports the immune and nervous system. It is always recommended to take vitamin C, especially in winter, as the vitamin is said to help against colds. Opinions on this point are divided among experts. The Cochrane research network evaluated 29 studies on the topic and came to the conclusion that long-term intake of vitamin C can reduce the duration of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children. But the dosage is important: according to the DGE the daily requirement for adults amounts to 95 (women) and 110 (men) milligrams per day. This value can easily be achieved through foods containing vitamin C, such as peppers or broccoli. Although the body excretes excess vitamin C through urine, vitamin C poisoning can occur at very high doses.
Why vitamins A and E can be useful in winter
Vitamin A and E are fat-soluble vitamins and can be stored by the body. Vitamin A is essential for the visual process, during Vitamin E which can protect cells from oxidative stress. In a 2020 observational study, English researchers found that people with a good intake of vitamin A and vitamin E were less likely to suffer from respiratory diseases. As Professor Caroline Stokes of the Humboldt University of Berlin informs us upon request, the study does not demonstrate that vitamins A and E prevent respiratory diseases, but they are still associated with a lower risk of getting sick. Especially in the cold season it is advisable to make sure you sufficiently cover the daily requirement of vitamins A and E through your diet. A food that provides the body with a particularly high quantity of vitamin A are, for example, carrots.
What vitamins do children need in winter?
Children need the same vitamins as adults, although the daily requirement is obviously much lower. In winter, parents should make sure their children get enough B vitamins, as they support the immune system, among other things. Vitamin D is also especially important for children because it is essential for bone growth. Whether an additional intake is appropriate in winter should be discussed with your paediatrician.
Tiredness in winter: can vitamins help?
Fatigue can have many reasons. Sometimes there is also a nutrient deficiency behind it. There are some vitamins that have been shown to help reduce fatigue. These are:
According to the Barmer health insurance company, the body produces more melatonin, especially in winter. The messenger substance is also known as the sleep hormone. Although it helps us sleep, in winter it can make you feel tired more quickly than usual.