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Best Supplements for Winter Health

Best Supplements for Winter Health

The winter season can be a challenging time for athletes trying to shred pounds or maintain their physique. From environmental pitfalls to calorie-bomb laden meals there are many seasonal traps that can sabotage an athlete’s physique goals. Winter is associated with greater incidences of colds, some evidence attributes this to a combination of a lack of sunlight, people being crowded inside in close-contact and poor indoor ventilation.[1,2] Another contributing factor may be the area where you live at, since some research has indicated that exercising in very cold environments can temporarily impair an athlete's immune response.[3] All of this can contribute to missing time in the gym, and any time lost can be detrimental to performance goals later in the year; as the saying goes summertime bodies are made in the winter.

 

Whether it’s stress from all the extra gatherings or added pounds because you deviated from your training program, winter can leave a lot of people with winter blues. It’s common during this time of the year for people to fall off the wagon with their diets as they’re around so many sugary and fat-laden meals. Plus the cold weather and shorter days makes it more of a struggle to get your daily workout in. Fortunately, there are key supplements that can help get you through this season by supporting your immune system, stress levels, and diet. By having a plan of action for the winter season, you can better navigate these times to stay on pace for the spring and summer. Make sure you’re including the best supplements for winter blues in your routine so you can stay on track with your goals.

Best Supplements For Winter Blues

Vitamin A (as Beta-carotene)

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant carotenoid that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays critical roles in supporting immune function, vision, and bone formation.[4] Vitamin A impacts the immune system by playing a role in the formation of the epithelium. Epithelial tissue lines the body's outer surface as well as it’s organs, making it the “first line of defense” for the body against harmful pathogens. Vitamin A also plays a role in mucus secretion in the respiratory tract and intestines. [5] Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin so one of the best ways to consume this vitamin is alongside a meal containing some naturally occurring fats.

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Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)

Ascorbic Acid is a potent antioxidant agent. Vitamin C plays a role in the synthesis of carnitine, catecholamines, and collagen.[6] Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, that protects the body from endogenous and exogenous oxidative stress. [7] It functions as an antioxidant by donating electrons to other compounds to prevent their oxidation. Through this action it’s able to prevent important compounds like lipids, proteins, and DNA from oxidative damage. But Vitamin C’s most known role is its ability to support both adaptive and innate immunity.[8] Keeping your immune system strong is important for winter blues so that you can stay in the gym training hard.

Vitamin D (as ergocalciferol)

Ergocalciferol is a Vitamin D precursor. Vitamin D along with its receptor VDR regulate the expression of more than 900 genes. [9] Vitamin D plays important roles in maintaining calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, through the Vitamin D/VDR pathway. Through this pathway, a signal is sent for absorption of calcium at the intestines, and rental tubular reabsorption of calcium. Vitamin D also plays a role as an immunomodulator in the innate and adaptive immune systems. [10] For people living in areas with short periods of sunlight during the daytime, Vitamin D supplementation is especially important during the wintertime since the sun is one of the best sources for Vitamin D.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral playing a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Zinc plays a role in DNA synthesis, immune function, and gene expression. For immune system mediators like thymulin, their biological activity is dependent on the presence of zinc.[11] Immune system defense cells like the T-Cells depend on thymulin and zinc for their formation and maturation. During bouts of prolonged exercise, a significant amount of zinc may be lost, so it’s important for athletes with intense training schedules to be mindful of their zinc intake.

Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a role in metabolism and immune function. Selenium exerts these effects through it’s presence in selenoproteins. Selenoproteins make up one of the most important groups of antioxidants, the glutathione peroxidases. The primary function of these antioxidants is to remove reactive oxygen species that can damage DNA and cell membranes.[12] Some of the best sources of selenium are foods that aren’t normally consumed by most Americans like organ meats, so supplementing with selenium can be a convenient way to increase your intake.

 

Manganese

Manganese is a mineral that plays important roles in energy metabolism, connective tissue formation and antioxidant function. Manganese as part of the enzyme Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (Mn SOD), functions as an antioxidant in the enzyme protecting the mitochondria from oxidation.[13] Some research also shows manganese to have a role in the immune system through intracellular communication.[14]

KSM-66

KSM-66 is a premium ashwagandha extract. Ashwagandha has been used for centuries as an herbal supplement to support a state of “balance” in the body. When it comes to ashwagandha much of its benefits are attributed to its alkaloid content, which is found in its roots. This is what makes KSM66 specifically, the top choice for ashwagandha supplementation because it's a full root extract with a high concentration of bioactives.

 

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Many generic ashwagandha supplements on the market will use other sources from the plant like the leaves, which don’t have the same amount of clinical studies as the root in an attempt to cut costs. KSM66 is an extensively researched form of ashwagandha that has also been shown to have beneficial effects on managing stress. Ashwagandha is able to exert its adaptogenic effects across various systems in the body because of its active compounds including lactones and alkaloids. [15,16] This makes ashwagandha an especially helpful supplement to use during the winter time when some people may be under more stress.

 

LJ100

Tongkat Ali is a plant native to Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Tongkat Ali has traditionally been used for its aphrodisiac properties. LJ100® is a patented form of Tongkat Ali, that has been standardized for it’s eurypeptide content. Eurypeptides exert their effects by stimulating dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). LJ100 has shown the ability to positively influence the cortisol:testosterone ratio levels within the normal range. In clinical studies LJ100 has shown it to have beneficial effects on stress hormone profile and mood state parameters. [17] One of the best times to use LJ100 will be prior to a stressful event like an important meeting.

 

Omega 3

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are commonly found in food sources like fatty fish, walnuts, and algae. Omega-3 fatty acids are deemed essential because humans aren’t able to synthesize them on their own so they must be consumed through diet or supplementation. Some research indicates that increased consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can have positive effects on mood state.[20, 21, 22] These effects are attributed to omega-3’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may impact mood. Be sure to incorporate high omega 3 sources into your diet during the winter time by eating fatty fish, nuts, and flaxseeds.

If you want to incorporate the best supplements for winter health into your seasonal routine, a fast and practical way to do this would be by stacking Multivitamin, Ferodrox, and a Kaged protein powder of your choice. When it comes to multivitamins, selecting one can be tricky as it’s difficult to find one that covers all 21 essential vitamins and minerals, and as you saw in this article, these micronutrients can play a major role in supporting your general health. With Kaged’s Multivitamin we included all 21 essential vitamins and minerals so you cover all the bases if your diet has any gaps. And our multivitamin is sourced from organic whole food sources to stay true to nature. For individuals that want to help maintain testosterone and cortisol ratio within the normal healthy range, Ferodrox is a powerful supplement to maintain vigor during the wintertime. And finally, the Kaged proteins can be used strategically for their digestion speeds like fast-digesting Micropure Whey Protein Isolate when you need a quick tasty shake to pre-load before a party. Or a slow digesting protein like Kasein to satisfy nighttime cravings. For vegan athletes, Plantein is a highly bioavailable plant-based protein that can be used to boost your daily protein intake. By using this stack you’ll be prepared to power through with the best supplements for winter resilience so that you can continue crushing it in the gym.

 

Whether it’s stress from all the extra gatherings or added pounds because you deviated from your training program, winter can leave a lot of people with winter blues. It’s common during this time of the year for people to fall off the wagon with their diets as they’re around so many sugary and fat-laden meals. Plus the cold weather and shorter days makes it more of a struggle to get your daily workout in. Fortunately, there are key supplements that can help get you through this season by supporting your immune system, stress levels, and diet. By having a plan of action for the winter season, you can better navigate these times to stay on pace for the spring and summer. Make sure you’re including the best supplements for winter blues in your routine so you can stay on track with your goals.

 

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Protein

Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients, it plays an important role in supporting the building and repair of muscle. During the holiday season, protein can be used strategically to ensure that you stay on track with your body composition goals. Energy dense-low nutrient foods are everywhere during this time of the season, one strategy to help control your environment is to supplement with additional protein. Research on protein consumption has shown that preload protein intake prior to a meal can lower short-term food intake and high protein diets can increase satiety and diminish nighttime cravings.[18, 19]

You can apply this information to your winter time strategy by drinking a protein shake an hour or two before a big get together so you reduce your intake of other low nutrient/calorie-dense foods. Another option is to make nighttime puddings with protein to crush late evening cravings for sweets. When it comes to the type of protein, dairy proteins like whey and Kasein are both great options because they’re highly bioavailable forms. For people that prefer plant proteins, a plant protein like Plantein that features IO Technology is an excellent option because it has shown similar bioavailability to whey in clinical studies.

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