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Six supplements to keep you fighting fit this winter

From coenzyme Q10 to collagen, we take a look at six super supplements that will help to keep you on top form throughout the winter and the Christmas party season.

For beating the winter blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, affects many people during the winter months. Symptoms include low mood, irritability and lethargy, and arise due to the lack of sunlight. If you struggle with SAD, Maz Packham, a naturopathic nutritionist and founder of Nourishful Nutrition ( suggests trying omega-3. She says: "A regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids can have a beneficial impact on mood as it supports the proper functioning of our neurotransmitters. The two key components of omega-3 are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Both are a vital part of our cell membranes, helping to improve communication between cells, which affects memory, for example. But it's DHA that is most abundant in the brain. So, if you are choosing a supplement to support your intake of omega-3, choose one with a higher concentration of DHA to EPA. If you prefer to get your omega-3 through diet, the best sources are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring."

For a better night's sleep

"During the festive season, our sleep schedule can be a little all over the place thanks to late nights and over-indulgence," says Maz Packham. "My go-to for sleep support is the mineral magnesium. It helps to regulate the nervous system and supports a key neurotransmitter called GABA, which calms the body and has a sedative effect, helping to promote restful sleep. It also promotes muscle relaxation and helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol which we know is a sleep disrupter. Magnesium is found in leafy greens like kale and spinach. It's also abundant in nuts and seeds like Brazil nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Dark chocolate is also a good source." If you're looking to supplement your diet, Maz recommends looking for magnesium glycinate, which is the form that is most easily absorbed by the body. She also suggests trying magnesium sulphate in the form of an Epsom salt bath. "The body absorbs the magnesium through the skin, relaxing the muscles and promoting restful sleep," she says.

Coenzyme Q10
For improved energy levels

"Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally-occurring compound in the body that plays a crucial role in the production of cellular energy," explains qualified, registered nutritionist Lara Buckle ( "It serves as a potent antioxidant, safeguarding cells against oxidative stress and promoting general wellbeing. As we age, our CoQ10 levels tend to decrease, potentially impacting our overall energy and vitality. Supplementation with CoQ10 can help to optimise cellular energy production, particularly in vital organs such as the heart and muscles. Numerous studies support the effectiveness and safety of CoQ10 supplementation in reducing fatigue symptoms. It is best to use a high-quality CoQ10 supplement, preferably in the ubiquinol form, as it is more readily absorbed by the body. The recommended dosage typically ranges from 100 to 200mg daily, but it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs."

Vitamin D
For immune support

"Vitamin D is a powerhouse for immune support," says Lara Buckle. "This essential nutrient fortifies our immune system by boosting antimicrobial peptide production, fine-tuning immune cell activity, and reducing inflammation. The winter season calls for a balanced strategy: consume vitamin D-rich foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, all while keeping a vigilant eye on your levels. When sunlight is scarce, consider supplementing vitamin D, especially if you're not soaking up those rays regularly, but proceed with caution as a tailored approach is key. Consult a healthcare expert to determine the right dosage for you as excessive intake can be counterproductive. Also, please bear in mind that supplements should complement a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle to yield the best results."

For soothing stress

Christmas can be a stressful time for many people, with endless to-do lists, financial worries and pressure to have the perfect family gathering. Supplementing with Ashwagandha could help if the stress of the festive season gets too much. "Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb with a rich history in traditional Ayurvedic medicine," explains nutritional therapist Lucia Stansbie ( "The herb contains bioactive compounds that exert anti-stress properties by modulating the body's response to stress. Ashwagandha can help to lower cortisol levels, which can be elevated when stressed, and mitigate the response to stress by the adrenal glands. There are different ways to take Ashwagandha, such as teas, tinctures, tablets or capsules. Despite being generally safe, Ashwagandha can interact with thyroid and diabetic medications. It can help to lower blood sugar levels, but this should be taken into consideration if the person is diabetic or on therapy for this condition."

For radiant skin

The harsh winter weather can play havoc with our skin, and stress from the festive season can exacerbate any skin conditions. Here is where supplementing with collagen might help. "The right collagen supplement can help support the matrix and structure of the skin," says Lucia Stansbie. "It is relevant in wintertime as exposure to UV rays can deplete our collagen matrix. The best kind of collagen supplement for skin health is type I or a combination of type I (providing strength) and III (providing flexibility), which can be found in marine and bovine collagen supplements. I find that the best supplements are either in powdered form or in liposomal form (the ‘drinkable' sachets). To maximise collagen absorption, take it away from main meals. This is because it is a form of protein that can compete for absorption with other proteins in a meal. Also, take your collagen supplement alongside a source of vitamin C to maximise absorption. Take it with some berries, which are rich in vitamin C. When choosing a collagen supplement, check the quality of the ingredients and the percentage of collagen in the formula, preferring ones with the lowest amount of extra ingredients."

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