In March last year, just as the pandemic was starting, I wrote a blog post sharing some ideas for the supplements we might like to consider taking in midlife to support general health and wellbeing. Nearly a year on and our need for an immune system boost has become even more important so I thought it might be timely to revisit how I am getting on and especially to talk about the latest info on Vitamin D.
I get asked to review quite a few supplements on my blog and it isn't always easy to see the benefits immediately. I tend to also look at the studies and recommendations from health experts - doing my own research. Throughout Covid some supplements have been mentioned a lot as being really useful to give our immune system a boost and research suggests our Covid-outcome might be better with certain supplements.
I was asked during my Staying in Style Zoom Meet-Up with Anita Feron-Clark what my top recommendation for a supplements was. The conclusion - Magnesium and Vitamin D. But there are a few others to consider too.
My suggestions haven't changed from my original blog post - you can read it here, what supplements do I need in midlife, but I am adding in a few more and sharing some up to date information with you. I am not suggesting you take them all! But pick out what might be helpful for your own needs.
I love a podcast and one of my favourites is Liz Earle Wellbeing, her recent Friday Five episode Supplements for Immune Support and Covid-19 with Dr Louise Newson was excellent, a short episode but clearly explained. It is worth a listen.
Vitamin D - we really should all be taking a Vitamin D supplement, it is almost impossible to absorb enough Vitamin D through our skin in the UK (even in summer). And research is showing that patients with higher levels of the sunshine vitamin do have a much better outcome with Covid-19. But did you know that the bigger (fatter) we are the higher the dose we should take and that Vitamin D is better absorbed if you take it with healthy fats, so take it with a meal, never on an empty stomach and/or combine with your Omega 3 supplement (see below). I buy a high dose Vitamin D supplement from Amazon or you can take a look at FutureYou Cambridge who do a good Vitamin D+ supplement. The dose suggested by the NHS might need to be higher so please do your own research - this is a good YouTube video that Jo at Time to Nourish shared with me.
Probiotics - there has been a recent study linking good gut health and healthy microbiome with a good Covid-19 recovery and results are especially encouraging for long Covid. I continue to take a probiotic daily and really rate them as a necessity for all aspects of our health. Liz recommended a brand called Microbz on her podcast and she shares a 20% discount (valid until end of January) code on the podcast.
Magnesium - I continue to take magnesium daily, I have been gifted a years supply of Magnesium+ from FutureYou Cambridge and I take it at night to help with relaxation, stress and sleep. Magnesium is a supplement that we could all benefit from as it is really difficult to get enough from our diet. There are different types of magnesium that help with different issues and you can read more about it on this article.
Omega 3's - I was asked to take part in an Omega 3 Challenge with BIOGLAN. I did a simple blood test (finger prick) to check my Omega 3 levels then I took the BIOGLAN Red Krill Oil for 2 months and did a retest. My levels rose slightly and I am taking a further course to then do a second retest. I was interested in the benefits of taking Vitamin D alongside healthy fats so taking an Omega 3 supplement will help with this. Omega 3 may help with your heart health, mental health and depression, eye health, reduce inflammation, support healthy skin and improve allergies and asthma. So lots of reasons to add this one in.
Vitamin C and Zinc - this combination is my go to for colds and although they won't prevent colds there is some research to suggest they may reduce the length and severity of a cold. I listened to another of Liz Earle's podcasts - where she has an in-depth discussion with Dr Thomas E Levy about Vitamin C and its role in supporting our health and immunity. You can find it here.
Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Magnesium - apparently there has been some research where patients were given a high dose of these three vitamins when they arrived in hospital with Covid-19 and the outcome was positive, more research is needed but I thought this was interesting.
And finally there are simple lifestyle changes we can make to boost our immune system too, don't forget the basics, starting with sleep and stress:
It did seem that sleep was in short supply over the first lockdown, I heard lots of complaints about sudden insomnia. And of course as midlife women going through peri menopause, sleep can be a rare commodity.
I was recently asked if I'd like to try out Unplug: Night time Supplement from Motion Nutrition. I am a serial rubbish sleeper! It's not continuous but when I get a few bad nights it can really affect my mood and I feel unwell and lethargic. Unplug is a natural de-stressor packed with traditional botanical herbs to help you relax and unwind.
I took two tablets about 30-60 minutes before bed for 60 days (I was gifted a 30 day supply and then purchased another 30 days). It wasn't a 'lights out insomnia cure' but I did feel a sense of calm and relaxation with them which is positive. I can take a sleeping tablet and not fall asleep so I didn't expect a miracle, although having read the reviews, the results vary so if you need something to relax your mind and help you switch off then I'd say this is worth a try!
Add in some important sleep hygiene like turning off technology, not watching TV in bed and keeping to the same wake up / go to bed time and you will see a difference - you can read my sleep tips here.
Other important lifestyle factors to support our immune systems:
Eat a good quality diet and include lots of plant based foods.
Eat more healthy fats like olive oil, salmon and chia seeds.
Limit your sugar intake.
Move a bit more, you do not need to do strenuous exercise but a daily walk in the fresh air will do so much good for your mind and body.
Drink plenty of water.
I hope this helps, stay healthy everyone.
Disclaimer: I have been gifted a years subscription for Magnesium+ from FutureYou Cambridge for a previous blog post, I was not asked to write this blog post. I was gifted a 30 day supply of Unplug from Motion Nutrition and asked if I would like to share a review on my blog. All words and opinions are my own. I was asked to take part in the Omega-3 challenge with BIOGLAN and the supplements sent to me for this purpose.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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