Summer Supplements: Top Picks for the Season
The warm, summer months signify more time spent outdoors, picnics in the park, sunrise yoga sessions and sunset jogs. All of these fun activities can have distinct benefits, such as helping to reduce stress, improve our fitness and contribute to better overall health.
There are also a number of supplements that can aid in the support of our summer health from the inside out. Check out our top picks below.
Astaxanthin, pronounced “ast-ah-zan-thin,” is a keto-carotenoid with a bright, red pigment with natural antioxidant qualities, and benefits for skin and vision. Here’s a fun fact: this molecule, commonly found in marine sources, including small crustaceans, is what gives flamingoes their distinctive pink plumage! It’s considered to be safe when taken orally, supported with a growing body of evidence to support its heart health benefits to keep you riding the summer trails with a healthy ticker.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another marine-based supplement with significant benefits is the omega-3 family of fatty acids. These good fats are found in oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and the astaxanthin-packed krill oil, plus short-chain varieties from olives, flax seed and chia seeds. These oils help support the underlying layers of our skin in the dermis and keep skin hydrated in the summer months. They also have natural UV-protective effects and help to reduce inflammation caused by long hours out in the sun.
It’s important to note that you should always liberally apply a high-quality mineral-based sunscreen for optimal, full-spectrum UV protection.
Oil of Oregano
This spicy oil serves up a hefty dose of antioxidants that have antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting properties. Why is this important for summer? Just two dreaded words: summer cold.
The summer cold is caused by viruses similar to winter colds, but it can sometimes drag on and on in the warmer months when all you want to do is be outside, not stuck in bed with a stuffy nose. Furthermore, oil of oregano has demonstrated antiviral effects against another common virus: norovirus.
To take oregano oil, read the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. Often, it’s advisable to dilute with water or juice due to the strong, pungent or “spicy” flavour of oregano oil. As always, speak with your health care practitioner to see which essential oils or natural health products can help you.
A surprising summer supplement is vitamin C, which is commonly thought of as necessary for immune system health in the winter. This versatile vitamin is involved in many antioxidant reactions in the body and its role in health is as varied as it is popular.
For decades, vitamin C has quietly harboured benefits for helping the body respond to heat stress that hasn’t extended to common knowledge. Supplemental vitamin C can decrease the amount of time it takes your body to adjust to a warmer environment, making it a perfect travel buddy if you plan on heading south for a beach holiday. It’s also thought to help your sweat glands function optimally, keeping your body cool in the process.
In addition to these heat-management properties, vitamin C is essential for keeping your skin looking healthy, youthful and elastic. Adding a vitamin C-enriched serum to your skin care regimen can help to put your best face forward. When topically applied, vitamin C has been shown to support collagen formation through enriching and boosting the enzymes involved with making this elastic skin protein, while evening skin tone and giving you a healthy glow.
If you’re familiar with the sunshine vitamin, you know that this little compound is made by the skin in response to solar UV exposure. This means that the summer months are often the peak times of vitamin D production in our skin, providing the much-needed seasonal boost to help our body with countless functions, including calcium absorption and hormone regulation.
However, applying full-spectrum sunscreen to prevent harmful DNA damage and associated consequences can actually hinder this process. Surprisingly, approximately 80 per cent of people don’t know that this puts them at risk of not getting enough vitamin D. The side effect of being responsible with sunscreen is that it blocks production of vitamin D in the skin, which makes supplementing an important part of your year-round healthy regimen.
With so many options, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know which products to buy. Visit your local CHFA Member health food store for tips on which are right for you. We recommend looking for a supplement that provides at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 has been shown to be more active in the body (it’s in the active form in the supplement), but is obtained from sheep’s wool. For a vegan-friendly option, try vitamin D2, which comes from plants.
Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy the sun. Equipping your body with the proper natural solutions to support your health from skin to within can start at your local CHFA Member health food store.