As the colder months roll in and the sun retreats, many delve into their supplement cupboard. However, amid a bevy of choices in front of potential takers, it can be confusing to establish which one’s to take. Doctor Ellie suggested on This Morning that vitamin A and vitamin D were the best vitamins to take in supplement form this winter. Both of them play vital roles in maintaining and strengthening the body’s immune system this winter as the cold and flu season returns along with a resurgent COVID-19.
On vitamin A and D, Doctor Ellie said it comes in the form of retinol – a chemical found in orange foods such as squash. However, vitamin A is also present in:
• Oily fish
• Fortified low-fat spreads
• Milk and yoghurt
• Liver and liver products.
Vitamin A can also be ingested through consuming products containing beta-carotene such as:
• Sweet potatoes
• Red peppers
Furthermore, the human body is also good at storing the vitamin – a fact reflected by Doctor Ellie: “Our body is very good at storing vitamin A so it’s not really one you have to think about unless you have a restrictive diet.”
On vitamin A, the NHS recommended daily dose for men between the ages of 19 and 64 is 700 micrograms while for women it is 600 micrograms.
Meanwhile, Doctor Ellie also discussed the health benefits of vitamin D, one greatly discussed during the early stages of the pandemic when it was believed to help treat the virus; a myth subsequently debunked.
What is well known and understood is that vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system and is a vitamin Britons lack during the winter due to a lack of sunlight. As a result, government guidance normally recommends that people should begin taking these supplements from September until Autumn.
Doctor Ellie said: “It’s government guidelines that all of us take vitamin D from now until April because we just can’t get enough where we are in the UK from our complete lack of sunshine because our skin makes vitamin D from the sunshine.
“So, we should all be taking vitamin D supplements, around 400 units a day, that’s a normal over the counter supplement. It’s in some fortified foods, but kids, adults, anybody pregnant, elderly people, we should all be taking it.”