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How to use supplements to beat winter bugs!

We are fully in the cold and flu season, and for most, the first winter where we haven’t been protecting ourselves (and each other) with face masks and social distancing. We do everything we can to try and keep any sniffles at bay which can leave us feeling rotten for weeks on end. If the last few years has taught us anything, it’s how to be ‘virus-aware’, so as well as practicing  ‘hands, face, space’ you can boost your immune system in a variety of ways! 

Why do we need to supplement our diets now more than ever? 

During food rationing in the second world war, the government forced the use of artificial fertilisers to make crops grow more quickly and increase yield; in fear of food shortages. At the time, this was revolutionary – a bigger, more abundant food source, but the fallout now is that the nutrients in the soil are becoming diluted. In 2017, a cold April and warm summer caused havoc for apple farmers across the UK with as much as 10% of the Braeburn crop affected. The result was ginormous 450g Braeburn apples, (which normally weigh around 170g) this is what has happened in most farming crops due to climate change, use of artificial fertilisers and an increase in carbon emissions. The consequence? That once nutritious, well balanced 170g apple, now gets less nutrients in the soil as well as having to share all those nutrients around bigger apples! It’s nutritional value becomes more and more dilute. Sadly, this is becoming the norm for all crops.  


A good place to start if you aren’t sure what nutrients you might be lacking in, is a multivitamin. We need 13 vitamins to maintain good health and wellbeing – A, C, D, E, K and eight B vitamins. We mostly rely on getting these from our food. If you struggle to eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains or have a health condition which affects how you absorb and digest food, you would probably benefit from taking a multivitamin. 

Vitamin D 

Ultraviolet B rays are absorbed by cholesterol through our skin and turned into Vitamin D3. In the winter when the sunlight is not as strong or frequent, we may struggle to get enough Vitamin D in our diets alone. In the UK, vitamin D supplementation is recommended from October to March and if you’re someone who mostly keeps out of the sunshine in the summer months, you may need to supplement year-round! Vitamin D3 supports our immune system by hindering some viruses’ abilities to replicate and grow. You can safely take up to 5000iu (which we stock in the clinic!) of vitamin D3 daily throughout the winter months to support your immune health and gain some other benefits too, like keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy!  

When taking vitamin D supplements, it is important to take them in combination with vitamin K2 (unless you’re on blood thinners!) to maximise absorption and ensure that the D3 gets deposited in your bones! To make the most out of your supplement, opt for a suckable tablet, lozenge or spray that gets the vitamin D straight into the blood stream – it doesn’t do too well being processed in the gut and liver and you lose a lot of the therapeutic effects. 


Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body and helps our bodies to generate energy from the food we eat, yet is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in the western world. Magnesium is absorbed in our diets through the likes of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and leafy green vegetables – so if you eat a low fibre diet, you may struggle to get enough magnesium through your diet alone. 

Vitamin D and Magnesium are a match made in harmony – they bring out all the best traits in each other, as well as having their own benefits! Like vitamin D, magnesium is essential to a functional immune system and having healthy bones but it also helps with energy production and muscle recovery. Magnesium is also known to help with migraines, sleep, cardiovascular health and lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes. In terms of immune health, magnesium works by improving our white blood cells’ ability to seek out and destroy germs – why wouldn’t you take it?! We like to offer magnesium with vitamin B6 (which helps with absorption) so you get the most effective dose. 

Other ways to supercharge your immune system:

  • Sleep
    • try and get 7-9 hours of consistent sleep a night to give your body the best chance of fighting off infection
  • Reduce Stress
    • Our bodies are smart, if they detect stress, they will initiate a ‘stress-response’ which is great to cope with stress, but it actually compromises your immune system! Try meditating or listening to a mindfulness podcast.
  • Hydrate
    • We rely on our lymphatic system to carry infection fighting cells around the body. If you’re dehydrated, the lymph fluid can’t move around the body as well.
  • Keep active
    • Research has shown that just 30mins of daily, moderate exercise cam help stimulate your immune system!

Think you could benefit from supplementation? Worried that pesky bugs might get in the way of your festivities?  Take care when purchasing supplements, particularly in supermarkets and online; the doses are often way too low (to keep costs down) but they just don’t give us the therapeutic dose that we need. We stock high quality, well researched supplements. 

Magnesium, vitamin D3 with K2 and daily multivitamin are now 20% off when you buy 2 or more! 

Want a winter MOT? Get booked in before Christmas here!

Elizabeth Garvey
    5 Wooler Park, North Way, Walworth Industrial Estate, Andover, Hampshire SP10 5AZ
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