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Mind & Body

Your guide to the supplements to take in summer

You might feel healthier, happier and more energized in the warmer months, but your body and immune system can still benefit from a helping hand. DANIELLE FOX explains which supplements to take and why

Beauty

Take a hyaluronic-acid supplement during the summer months

While we all know the benefits of good-quality hyaluronic acid (HA) on the skin to plump and hydrate, it is perhaps a lesser-known fact that HA is a fantastic supplement to take if you’ve been in the sun. According to Henrietta Norton, nutritionist and founder of Wild Nutrition, HA, when ingested, increases the healing of the skin and reduces inflammation, making it great for soothing sunburn. The key, advises Norton, is to look for a low-weight (molecular) HA, which is clinically proven to reach the skin’s surface.

Keep your magnesium topped up 365 days a year

You may have dabbled with magnesium, whether taking it as a pill at night to ease muscles, stress and help with sleep, or by adding it to your bath in the form of Epsom salts. It also happens to be the one mineral we’re most deficient in – the World Health Organization reported that 80 percent of people globally don’t consume enough. Stress, your daily caffeine fix, sugar and alcohol can all lead to lower levels, as do birth-control pills and certain antibiotics, which is why taking magnesium year-round makes sense. Norton recommends 375mg daily and, if you want to up your magnesium intake through your diet, add brown rice, almonds (a handful is enough) and Swiss chard to your meals.

Add an antioxidant to minimize sun damage

We know the importance of a topical sunblock (we always recommend SPF30 and above), but pairing your sun care with an antioxidant supplement can really amp up that defence from within. Vitamin C (80mg daily) and E (12mg daily) are the most researched when it comes to defending against UV damage – both are brilliant for all-round antioxidant benefits. There is also interesting new research emerging around co-enzyme Q10 and a carotenoid (a phytonutrient that helps to absorb light energy and provide protection) called lutein – both offer some natural sun protection and help to fight oxidative stress from exposure to the sun.

Why you should prioritize omega 3 all-year round

New research now shows that over 98 percent of us have inadequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Given these findings, it has been suggested that low omega 3 is now as much of an issue as vitamin D deficiency. These vital fats are needed by every cell in the body to function efficiently and support everything from brain function and hormone regulation to heart and immune health. Norton recommends taking 1g of omega-3 fatty acids per day, all year round, and advises adding more sustainably sourced fish, such as pollock, to your diet.

The one supplement you don’t think you need in summer – but do

While you may have been taking vitamin D religiously in the winter months, you could be surprised to hear that many experts advise carrying on taking it through the summer. Sunscreens, longer working hours, medications such as statins, and age (those above 65 have a four-times-lower capacity to produce vitamin D compared to younger adults) can affect our levels even further. Our dietary habits have also changed, with vitamin D-rich foods such as whole-fat dairy falling out of favor in some cultures. And don’t expect to rely solely on the sun for your vitamin D intake, either. Recent research has shown that the sun may not be the miracle source we once thought, since sufficient solar radiation depends on the season. Norton recommends that everyone over the age of four should take 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D every day.

SAFTEY IN SUPPLEMENTS

Not all supplements are equal – read labels and know what you are taking (Examine.com is an unbiased independent supplement resource).

Try opting for capsules filled with powder (more likely to be as close to ‘food state’ as possible); molded tablets often contain fillers and can be difficult to digest.

Before incorporating anything into your diet, always consult a professional to screen for potential allergies or complications.

Above all, remember that supplements are just that – an addition to a healthy diet. In other words, pill-popping vitamins is no substitute for eating well.

Danielle Fox is a registered nutritionist

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown