What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
Getting the sniffles in the colder months is quite common. But have you ever wondered why you get an annual flu shot but not a cold vaccine?
While both the cold and flu are viral diseases, a flu is caused by influenza viruses only (1). The common cold on the other hand, can be caused by a number of different viruses, including rhinoviruses and parainfluenza.
The flu can lead to serious medical complications like pneumonia that may require hospitalization. A cold on the other hand is milder and generally does not lead to serious health problems (1). This is why we require a seasonal flu vaccine but not one for the common cold.
What is the best way to avoid a cold during winter season?
The global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has taught us all a thing or two about viral infections. The same rules apply to all sorts of viral infections, including the flu or common cold. So remember to:
- Get the flu vaccination
- Wash your hands frequently
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow
- If you’ve already gotten a cold, spare others and stay home
In addition, it is believed that sleeping well and eating healthily will help you stay sniffle-free.
What vitamin(s) do we lack in winter?
The main vitamin deficiency that we associate with winter is a vitamin D3 deficiency. Since vitamin D3 is produced upon exposure to UV light, decreased sun exposure in the winter leads to its deficiency (2). Similarly, vitamin B9 (folic acid) is easily available in winter vegetables like beets and Brussels sprouts. However, the bioavailability of naturally occurring folates is inherently limited and variable (3).
Other vitamins may also be lacking due to the seasonal changes in fruits and vegetables available to us. For example, in a Canadian study, a winter vitamin A deficiency was observed in free-living, older women (4). The healthy women in this trial were not recommended any special diet or supplementation. The only nutrition that they got was through the food they ate, and clearly, this was not enough.
In another study, vitamin C levels were found to be low in winter samples of potatoes (5). On the other hand, vitamin C was found in abundance in winter pickings of spinach and oranges.
A large part of what you eat therefore, also affects your vitamin status.
Are there any other winter-associated nutrient deficiencies?
The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
It was found that organically grown wheat from a winter harvest had lower levels of nutritionally important minerals such as B, Cu, Fe, Zn, Ca, S and K (6). These minerals are important for the normal functioning of the human body. Thus it is advisable to supplement them in the winter.
How do I overcome nutrient deficiencies in the winter?
By eating a variety of grains or fortified food in the winter, supplementation of nutrients is possible. Alternatively, we can consume food supplements.
Below, we will answer questions on what nutrients need to be supplemented for specific winter ailments.
Winter-healthy food supplements
How do I care for dry skin in winter?
Did you know that household heating and the use of warm water can cause our skin to become dry? The heat and dryness can strip our skin of essential, moisturizing oils. But did you know that micronutrient deficiencies can also cause certain of these skin conditions?
Vitamins for dry skin
Vitamin D has been proven to significantly improve skin hydration (7). This is because, vitamin D plays an integral role in skin barrier function and skin cell growth. This was, for example, proven in a study of 50 women. The women were treated daily with a nutritional supplement containing 600 IU of vitamin D. At the end of the 12-week study, their skin moisture content had improved.
Contact us to know how our ready-to-go, liquid liposomal vitamin D3 formulation that contains 1 000 IU per recommended daily dose, can improve your skin’s quality.
Another vitamin that can help maintain skin health in winter, is vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis (8). It provides collagen with the extracellular stability that subsequently supports the epidermis. This helps reduce or prevent wrinkles (9). Higher intakes of dietary vitamin C have also been correlated with a decreased risk of dry skin (9).
Skin care minerals
Of the minerals that can support skin health, zinc may be one of the most important elements. The zinc in our skin contributes to 6% of the total body zinc content! Here, it contributes to normal protein synthesis (10). It is also involved in the metabolism of vitamin A. This is essential for the maintenance of healthy hair and nails (10).
Plant extracts for better skin
Oral turmeric supplementation has been proven to be beneficial to treat dry or itching skin in the cold winter months (11). It exerts its beneficial effects by preventing inflammation and cleaning out the lymphatic system (11).
You can read our blog post on beauty-related supplements for more on this topic.
Other skin supplements
Hyaluronic acid is an important component of our connective tissue, giving our skin its firmness and elasticity. Additionally, it plays an important role in water absorption and decides skin water content. It is sometimes also referred to as hyaluronan.
A meta-analysis on hyaluronan as a single oral preparation generated remarkable effects on skin hydration (12). It was found that the water loss in the face was significantly lower over 4 to 12 weeks of intervention.
How can I support my immune system in the winter weather?
Support from botanicals
In a previous blog post, we explained how curcumin does more than lend its yellow colour to your curry powder. It is proven to have a suppressive effect on an influenza virus infection (11). Curcumin also has anti inflammatory properties that are beneficial for asthma, arthritis and infections that can worsen in winter.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role in the inflammatory response during viral infections (13). Astaxanthin, a pigment produced by microalgae, bacteria, yeasts, and plants, is an incredibly potent antioxidant. Its antioxidant activity far exceeds several popular antioxidants- 6000 times that of vitamin C, 800 times that of coenzyme Q10, 550 times that of vitamin E and 75 times that of α-Lipoic acid! (13)
Liposomal encapsulation improves its water solubility, masks its undesirable odour and flavour and protects it from degradation in the gastrointestinal tract (14).
Interested? Contact us today!
Vitamins C and D are required for the normal functioning of the immune system (10). During times of infection, vitamin C can, in addition, stimulate both the production and function of our white blood cells (WBCs) (9). At the same time, through its antioxidant functions, vitamin C is able to protect WBCs from self-inflicted oxidative damage.
Mineral supplements for a healthy immune system
Did you know that even a marginal zinc deficiency can suppress aspects of immunity? Further, since plasma zinc concentration declines with age (13), it is essential to support your immune system with zinc supplements (10).
Do you only associate iron supplementation with anaemia? Think again! Iron is required to mount effective immune responses against invading pathogens. Consequently, an iron deficiency can impair the immune response (13).
PlantaCorp manufactures liquid liposomal forms of all these immune-supportive supplements. Contact our Business Development team to add them to your product portfolio or view our product range.
How can I beat the winter blues without medication?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression with a recurring seasonal pattern. Symptoms most often start in the late fall and early winter and go away in the spring and summer (16). Fortunately, food supplements exist to help elevate your mood.
Plant extracts against SAD
Curcumin is said to help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal anxiety or depression in otherwise healthy individuals (17). Ashwagandha is also a plant product that it is regularly used in traditional Eastern medicine. The extract is traditionally used to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing (18). Scientific evidence is supportive of its application against stress and as an antidepressant (19).
Liposomal melatonin can help you sleep better. A good night’s sleep in turn, is recommended to fight the blues.
Magnesium against depression
Did you know that magnesium depletion due to a low Mg intake is associated with the dysregulation of one’s biorhythms? (20) This can occur by its indirect effect on the production of melatonin.
Insufficient dietary magnesium intakes and low magnesium blood levels are, thus, associated with a higher risk of depression (21).
Why liposomal winter supplements?
Almost all of the supplements mentioned in this article suffer from problems of low bioavailability. This may be because they are easily metabolized even before reaching our blood. Others that are available from our diet or traditional supplements, are in a form that our body cannot easily absorb.
For all these reasons, nutrient supplementation in the liposomal form is recommended. Encapsulation by a liposome
- Increases the solubility of fat-soluble ingredients
- Protects ingredients from destruction in the mouth and stomach
- Increases the time available for the intestinal cells to absorb them
Liposome-encapsulated ingredients are thus able to execute their beneficial effects maximally. It is our mission to enable the potential of thousands of vital substances that maximizes everyone’s health.
Winter supplements market trend
Vitamins and dietary supplements make up 26% of the nutraceuticals market worldwide (22). The Western European market in this segment registered a year-on-year growth of 5.2% in 2020. This was ahead of the growth of 3.5% in 2019 (23).
Before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the global phytonutrient ingredients market was expected to reach USD 7 385.2 million in revenue by 2022 (24). Of this, the European phytonutrient ingredients market was expected to reach USD 1 907.9 million in revenue by 2022 (25). 15 431.8 thousand metric tons was expected by volume. This projection has substantially increased since the outbreak.
The megatrend since 2020 has been “Healthy living” (25). Consumers are especially interested in supplements with immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients. Those products that are designed to help them relax and sleep better are also especially sought after. The demand for plant-based products and traditional remedies especially rose. Consumers are especially interested in supplements with immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients. Those products that are designed to help them relax and sleep better are also especially sought after.
Ask our Business Development team how they can help you stand out in the liposomal food supplement business.
- Cold and the flu are viral diseases with different outcomes. A flu is more severe than a cold.
- Deficiencies in vitamins D, B9 and A are common during the winter.
- Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, turmeric and hyaluronan supplements can help treat dry skin in winter.
- Curcumin, astaxanthin vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and iron supplements are sure to support a healthy immune system.
- Curcumin, ashwagandha, magnesium and melatonin may be able to help fight the winter blues.
- The liposomal form of these supplements are proven to be more bioavailable and efficient.
- Supplements with immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress and anti-depression ingredients are sought after.
- The global market value for these supplements is more than USD 7 385.2 million.
- [Online] [Cited: 01 22, 2023.] Flu symptoms & complications. CDC.
- [Online] [Cited: 11 10, 2021.] Vitamin D fact sheet. NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements.
- [Online] [Cited: 01 22, 2023.] Folate. LPI Micronutrient Information Center.
- Seasonal variation of vitamin A (retinol) status in older men and women. Basu TK, Donald EA, Hargreaves JA, Thompson GW, Chao E, Peterson RD. 6, s.l. : J Am Coll Nutr., 1994, Vol. 13.
- Seasonal variability of the vitamin C content of fresh fruits and vegetables in a local retail market. Phillips KM, Tarrago-Trani MT, McGinty RC, Rasor AS, Haytowitz DB, Pehrsson PR. 11, s.l. : J Sci Food Agric. , 2018, Vol. 98.
- Mineral composition of organically grown wheat genotypes: contribution to daily minerals intake. Hussain A, Larsson H, Kuktaite R, Johansson E. 9, s.l. : Int J Environ Res Public Health., 2010 , Vol. 7.
- [Online] [Cited: 12 14, 2021.] 8 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Dry Skin. Healthline
- [Online] [Cited: 01 22, 2023.] EU Register of health claims. Food and Feed Information Portal. EFSA.
- [Online] [Cited: 01 22, 2023.]. Vitamin C and skin health. LPI Micronutrient Information Center.
- [Online] [Cited: 10 29, 2021.] Food and Feed Information Portal Database. EFSA.
- Bioactivity, Health Benefits, and Related Molecular Mechanisms of Curcumin: Current Progress, Challenges, and Perspectives. Xu X-Y, Meng X, Li S, Gan R-Y, Li Y, Li H-B. s.l. : Nutrients, 2018, Vol. 10.
- Effectiveness of Dietary Supplement for Skin Moisturizing in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Sun Q, Wu J, Qian G, Cheng H. Front. Nutr., 2022, Vol. 9.
- Mitochondrion-Permeable Antioxidants to Treat ROS-Burst-Mediated Acute Diseases. Zhang Z-W, Xu X-C, Liu T, Yuan S. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2016
- Recent Advances in Astaxanthin Micro/Nanoencapsulation to Improve Its Stability and Functionality as a Food Ingredient. Martínez-Álvarez Ó, Calvo MM, Gómez-Estaca J. Marine Drugs. 2020
- [Online] [Cited: 01 21, 2023.] Nutrition and the immune system. LPI Micronutrient Information Center.
- [Online] [Cited: 12 13, 2021.] Seasonal Affective Disorder. NCCIH.
- Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. s.l. : Foods, 2017, Vol. 6.
- An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. s.l. : Medicine (Baltimore), 2019.
- Effects of a standardized extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on depression and anxiety symptoms in persons with schizophrenia participating in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Gannon JM, Brar J, Rai A, Chengappa KNR. s.l. : Ann Clin Psychiatry, 2019.
- Chronopathological forms of magnesium depletion with hypofunction or with hyperfunction of the biological clock. Durlach J, Pagès N, Bac P, Bara M, Guiet-Bara A, Agrapart C. Magnes Res. 2002, Vol. 15.
- Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Tardy A-L, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A.Nutrients. 2020; Vol.12.
- [Online] [Cited: 12 15, 2021.] Vitamins and Dietary supplements market overview. PWC.
- [Online] [Cited: 11 15, 2021.] Vitamins and dietary supplements market in Western Europe. Euromonitor.
- [Online] [Cited: 12 15, 2021.] Growth Opportunities in the Global Phytonutrient Ingredients Market, Forecast to 2022. Frost & Sullivan.
- [Online] [Cited: 12 15, 2021.] Megatrend: Healthy Living. Euromonitor International.