Winter Supplement Guide

Woman taking a medicine on Christmas morning


Winter brings unique challenges for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Dropping temperatures, decreased daylight, and altered workout routines can impact performance and overall well-being. But, this seasonal shift presents an opportunity to fine-tune your nutrition regimen and optimize your body’s resilience.

Welcome to our comprehensive Winter Supplement Guide, your go-to resource for navigating the colder months with vitality and strength. We share the crucial supplements designed to bolster your athletic performance, fortify your immune system, and keep you firing on all cylinders during the chilliest time of the year. 

  1. Vitamin D

Surprisingly, vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone made in our bodies that gets converted into vitamin D with exposure to UV rays from the sun. Vitamin D is vital in regulating calcium absorption, protecting against osteoporosis, helping our immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, and reducing inflammation. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D because of our use of sunscreen, lack of sun exposure, and living in colder weather. The best way to raise vitamin D levels is by taking supplements, usually available as drops or soft gels. Vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable form, meaning it is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. The best way to determine if you are low in vitamin D is to consult your doctor for a blood test. Make sure to add vitamin D to your supplement lineup. It is a must-have all year round, and particularly during winter. Consider it your sunshine boost in a bottle!

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 supplements, typically derived from fish oil, play a vital role in supporting heart health, aiding brain function, and reducing inflammation related to joint stiffness experienced more frequently in colder climates. They have added benefits against the dark days of winter, such as helping to manage seasonal mood changes and alleviate mood swings that come with the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Look for a supplement containing both EPA and DHA and aim for a daily intake of 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA, as Health Canada recommends, to reap the benefits of its mood-regulation and anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements, and for good reason! It supports tissue growth and repair, collagen production for skin health, acts as an antioxidant to combat cell damage, and, most importantly, bolsters immune function to help ward off seasonal colds and flu. Vitamin C also helps maintain body temperature in winter by improving blood flow and reducing cholesterol levels to help lower the risk of heart disease.

When choosing a vitamin C supplement, there are a few different options to choose from. Ascorbic acid is the type of vitamin C found naturally in food. It has good bioavailability, but some people find it too acidic in their gut and cannot tolerate higher doses. Mineral ascorbates such as calcium and magnesium ascorbate are ‘buffered,’ so they are pH neutral and generally better tolerated by the gut. In Canada, the recommended daily vitamin C intake for adults is around 75-90 mg, but during cold months, a higher intake is beneficial to support immune resilience. Some sources recommend an upper limit of 2,000 mg per day. Integrating vitamin C supplements into your winter routine can contribute to overall health, particularly during increased susceptibility to illness.

  1. Zinc

Zinc supplements are a winter superhero, especially for the immune system. They support immune function, wound healing, and promote overall growth. The daily recommended intake in Canada is 8-11 mg for women and 11-14 mg for men. Higher doses might help during winter, but avoid exceeding 40 mg daily to prevent adverse effects. Zinc can be challenging for the body to digest so to make it more bioavailable it is combined with another compound, such as zinc gluconate, zinc citrate, zinc picolinate or zinc acetate. Adding zinc to your routine can fortify defences against seasonal bugs.

  1. Probiotics

Probiotics are strains of bacteria that are important for intestinal health. They are like friendly reinforcements for your gut and become particularly valuable in the winter. Probiotic supplementation helps to repopulate the “good bacteria” in your gut to help maintain a critical balance. They support digestive health, maintain a balanced gut microbiome, and strengthen the immune system. When picking a probiotic supplement, look for one that contains diverse strains and approximately 10 to 15 CFUs (colony-forming units). You can also add probiotics into your diet with fermented foods such as miso, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. Incorporating probiotics into your routine during winter can help bolster your body’s defenses against seasonal bugs and support overall well-being.

  1. Elderberry

Elderberry is less common than other supplements on this list, but it can act as a natural shield during winter. Elderberry is a dark purple berry from the European elder tree with a long history of use for colds and flu. It is known for its immune-boosting properties and ability to fight viruses and infections without disrupting gut flora or killing off beneficial bacteria. Elderberry supplements come in various forms, including syrup, tinctures, gummies, capsules, and tablets.

  1. Magnesium

Magnesium is crucial in regulating muscle function, maintaining bone health, controlling blood sugar levels and energy production, and reducing stress, which can be especially beneficial in colder months. It is recommended to aim for approximately 200-400 mg daily. The best form to take is magnesium glycinate. However, magnesium citrate is also well absorbed and suitable for relaxation; watch for its effect on your bowels, so monitor for your maximum dose of magnesium citrate. Taking magnesium in the evening can help with relaxation before bedtime, improving sleep quality during winter hibernation. 

  1. Echinacea

Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs as it is rich in antioxidants and helps support immunity. It is used in supplement form to shorten the common cold and flu duration and reduce symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, and fever, due to its ability to boost the immune system and fight body infections. Echinacea can help support the body’s defences against seasonal challenges, fortify your immune response, and relieve anxiety. You can find it in extracts, tinctures, tablets, and capsules.

  1. Melatonin

Melatonin supplements are like a natural sleep aid and can be beneficial during the winter months. Your body naturally produces melatonin to regulate the sleep-wake cycle; typically, enough is produced for people to sleep well. However, if you are experiencing insomnia or want to get to bed earlier, supplementation may assist in managing disrupted sleep patterns. The suggested daily dose can be 3 to 10 mg per day; however, when beginning supplementation, opt for lower amounts; less is more (around 0.5-5 mg). You can also optimize melatonin levels naturally. Melatonin levels rise about two hours before bedtime, so keep the light low before bed, stop using your computer or phone, and turn off the TV. While it can be more challenging in winter, getting sufficient daylight exposure by walking outside or sitting beside a sunny window can help your body produce melatonin at night. 

  1. Iron

Iron supplementation is vital for maintaining energy levels, carrying oxygen throughout the body, combating fatigue, and supporting the immune system. A lack of iron in the body can cause heart palpitations and shortness of breath due to insufficient oxygen being carried throughout the body. When choosing an iron supplement, look for one that is heme-based rather than ferrous salts for better absorption and less chance of stomach upset. Aim for 8 mg daily for males and 18 mg daily for menstruating women. It is best to consult your doctor to have them provide the best iron supplement dosing for you. Ensuring adequate iron intake during winter can help combat fatigue caused by colder weather and maintain overall vitality.

*Pro-tip: Consulting with a healthcare professional before starting new supplements is crucial to ensure they align with your health needs and objectives.

The winter season is not just about weather changes; it is a lifestyle shift that requires adjusting your nutritional habits. Whether you’re an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or simply prioritizing health during colder months, knowing the right supplements can significantly impact your well-being. Now is the time to adjust your approach and tackle the winter challenges directly by prioritizing supplementation for a healthier, thriving you.


If you’re looking for more information on which supplements would be right for you, visit us in store and have a chat with one of our experts. We can also be reached on Facebook and Instagram. Now it’s your turn to tell us, how do you incorporate greens into your diet? Be sure to tag us! We are #ReflexNation.

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