It’s winter. This means that it is the time of year when we are more likely to have a runny nose, sore throat, and cough due to a cold or flu. Experiencing these symptoms can make working out difficult, if not impossible. This can really hamper your hard earned progress.
As you know, the best way to keep from experiencing these symptoms and getting sick is prevention. The right nutritional supplements can help. After reading this article you will know the 3 best for boosting your immunity to prevent sniffling, sneezing, and sore throats all winter long.
Included in this list are each supplements benefits, recommended dosages, and the best products available. You can take them individually or together based upon your own needs.
1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
In addition to being great for building muscle, energizing your workouts, and burning off fat, BCAAs will also keep your immune system strong. This is especially true when you are training hard, which can decrease your ability to fight off illness and infection. One study shows that taking a BCAA supplement lowered athletes risk of infection by 34%.
The reason that BCAAs are able to keep you healthy, even when you’re training hard, is their ability to keep levels of the amino acid glutamine high. This amino acid plays a huge role in keeping your immune system strong and can be depressed with exercise. The reason I recommend taking BCAA supplements instead of glutamine itself is that they have the additional benefits I write about above.
You’re likely to get the most benefit from BCAAs by taking 5-10 grams before and after every workout. You may also want to take them between meals on days you don’t workout.
If you prefer to take a tablet based supplement I recommend Gaspari BCAA 6000 which contains 6 grams of branched chain aminos per serving. It’s my personal choice and the best selling BCAA supplement in our store.
Those of you are guys and girls that likes to drink your supplements instead of swallowing tablets will love Met Rx BCAA 3000. Each serving has 5 grams of immune strengthening branched chain amino acids.
2. Vitamin D
This often forgotten vitamin plays a role in hundreds of bodily functions. One is keeping the flu at bay. Studies show that the higher your blood levels are for vitamin D, the less likely it is you will become sick with the flu. Vitamin D can help your performance in the gym too. Results from one study shows that athletes with higher levels of vitamin D perform better in their chosen sports or activity.
Vitamin D can help reduce your risk of getting the flu in two ways. The first is that they produce proteins called cathelicidin and defensins that fight off viruses like the flu. Another way is that it reduces inflammation in our bodies. The less inflammation we have, the better our body is at fighting off illness.
The best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is from the sun. Since this isn’t always possible, especially during the winter months, taking a supplement is often the best option. According to the Endrocrine Society and Andrew Weil, M.D., the recommended daily dose for adults is 2000 IU a day. You may need to take more, depending on your current health status. The best way to learn exactly how much you need to take to increase vitamin D levels in your body, is a blood test that can be done by your doctor.
When choosing a vitamin D supplement, make sure you buy a product that uses vitamin D3 (cholocalciferol). This is the form that our bodies use the best. You can buy this supplement in liquid or tablet form.
I prefer to get my from my sports multivitamin, Gaspari Anavite. Taking it twice a day gives my 2000 IU of vitamin D3 without the hassle of having to take another supplement. Plus, I get the right amount of other nutrients that protect my health and improve my workouts including: antioxidants, beta alanine, l-carnitine, and chelated minerals. No other multivitamin I know of has as much per serving.
If you do happen to get a cold, using a zinc lozenge supplement like Cold Eze makes it less likely that it will last more than a week. Most colds last between 1-2 weeks so this benefit is pretty significant. I’ve used Cold Eze myself on the rare occasions that I get a cold and find that it helps reduce the severity of my symptoms and enables me to feel better after a couple of days.
Don’t overdo it with zinc thinking more is better. It’s not. Taking too much can cause you to get sick as well. Health experts and physicians recommend not taking more than 40 mg a day to prevent the risk of experiencing any negative side effects.
The best way to get your daily dose of zinc is through a multivitamin. Since you workout, Gaspari Anavite is a great choice. Taking the recommended 2 servings a day gives you 30 mg of zinc. The type they use is chelated to help increase its absorption and assimilation by your body.
If you want a stand alone zinc supplement, Optimum Nutrition ZMA is a great choice. It too uses a well absorbed form of zinc and also contains magnesium in every serving. In addition to providing your daily dose of zinc, the magnesium in every serving will help you relax and get a great nights sleep. This can also help you stay healthy and decrease the odds of getting sick.
You now know of the 3 best nutritional supplements for keeping your healthy all winter long. Give them a try and see how they can help you stay fit and strong all winter long!
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