Are Vitamin cures beneficial for staying in shape in Winter?

Vitamin Cures; Except in exceptional cases, a balanced diet provides all the vitamins needed to get through bad weather.

A vitamin C pill boosts your immune system, a vitamin D ampoule strengthens your bones, and a vitamin B capsule fills up energy. The arrival of bad weather is the excellent return of food supplement cocktails, often perceived as essential allies of the winter. This is evidenced by the French turnover of this booming market, estimated at 1.8 billion euros last year, nearly 6% more than in 2016, according to Synadiet.

Yet, the vitamins found in commerce have no preventive or curative action. These products, which are food supplements (not drugs), are not allowed to display such claims nor to make people believe that the food does not provide enough vitamins.

What are Vitamins used for?
An almost mystical aura surrounds the word “vitamin”: nobody knows what it looks like, but everyone is convinced that it is a miraculous fuel. And it’s essential vitamins (13 in total) are crucial to the body’s functioning. On paper, however, the reality is less epic. Biologically, each vitamin acts as a transporter for well-defined chemical reactions within the cells. The body does not know how to make them (or it makes them in insufficient quantities), so they come almost exclusively from our food, and they participate in multiple tasks ranging from the stimulation of the immune system to the mineralization of bones, through the formation of red blood cells.

Does vitamin supplementation improve health? In case of deficiencies, yes. For example, a significant and prolonged vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy. But this type of deficiency is very rare unless you never eat fruits and vegetables. It is possible to have a slight defect in a particular vitamin, but this is generally transitory and has no repercussions on health. On the other hand, certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, require preventive supplementation in certain minerals and vitamins. In a healthy person, a balanced and diversified diet is ordinarily sufficient to cover all needs.

This is not to say that vitamin supplementation is always unnecessary. In some cases, it is even essential. Women who wish to have a child or are pregnant are systematically given vitamin B9 to reduce the risk of fetal neurological malformations. For example, all infants receive vitamin K to prevent the risk of bleeding disorders. Finally, it is recommended that people who follow a vegan diet supplement with vitamin B12, as it is found exclusively in foods of animal origin.

Vitamin C is not very effective against the common cold
It’s a long-standing idea that vitamin C helps the body fight colds. It was popularized in the 1970s by Linus Pauling, an American chemist who won the 1954 Novel Prize for Chemistry. Since then, several scientific teams have looked into the matter. In 2013, a large study showed that taking vitamin C does not prevent getting sick. Results were confirmed by another study published in August. This month, another significant study concluded that “vitamin C has minimal or no impact on the duration of the common cold.”

Vitamin D, no consensus
Should you take vitamin D in winter or not? It plays a vital role in bone mineralization (among other things). It has the particularity of being synthesized in the skin under the effect of UV rays emitted by the sun. For light-skinned people, exposing their arms to the sun for five minutes each day allows them to produce the vitamin D needed by the body. For dark-skinned people, it is necessary to expose themselves a little longer. But during the winter in the northern hemisphere, the reduced sunlight leads many doctors to advise supplementation. However, studies tend to question, on the one hand, the thresholds below which one speaks of deficiency and on the other hand, the usefulness of supplementation in a certain number of pathologies.

To know your vitamin D level, it is possible to have a blood test (not reimbursed except for specific pathologies) and, in case of deficiency, to have it prescribed by a doctor. Vitamin D-based food supplements are available without a prescription. They can be found in fatty sea fish such as salmon, herring, and sardines.

Be careful; even if they are “natural” products (but in practice synthesized in a laboratory), vitamins in the form of food supplements are not without risks. For example, an excess of vitamin C can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb certain minerals, which can cause other imbalances.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *