Vitamins C, D, probiotics… Do autumn cures really boost energy and immunity?

Trouble getting out of bed in the morning. A lack of training and energy. Not to mention the time change planned for this last Sunday in October, which will shorten the days even more. No doubt, while summer is only a distant memory, a month after its official start, we are in the harsh fall, the official season of laziness, gloomy weather and nasopharyngitis .

So, how do you find a little fishing? Can we encourage our immunity to keep respiratory viruses at bay? For many, the solution is to start a small autumn cure, to fill up with vitamins C, D, or magnesium. But between the contributions of the food, a possible deficit and the real needs, these cures are they really effective? 20 minutes sift through five. And “if avoiding deficiencies is obviously a good thing for health, we should not expect miracles from these cures, especially against Covid-19”, insists Thierry Souccar, scientific journalist and author of the book. Let’s stop sabotaging our immunity (Ed. Thierry Souccar).

Vitamin D

Also called vitamin of the sun, the vitamin D is synthesized by the organization when one is exposed under its rays. It plays an essential role in bone health, and also in strengthening the immune system. “In particular innate immunity, which is the body’s first line of defense against infectious agents such as bacteria, fungi and viruses”, explains Thierry Souccar.

Or, as the time change approaches, naturally replenishing this vitamin becomes more complicated. If oily fish and fortified dairy products contain vitamin D, “food hardly manages to meet the needs, and 75 to 80% of the French population is deficient in vitamin D at this time of the year, underlines science journalist. We can know if it is necessary thanks to a laboratory assay. And if you are in deficit, taking a vitamin D cure in the fall can be a good idea. Studies show that supplementation can have a preventive effect against the classic winter respiratory viruses”. In pharmacies, we will choose “rather vitamin D3 to D2: it is closer to that which is naturally produced by the body, which absorbs it better”, advises Thierry Souccar.

Vitamin C

Considered by many to be the energy vitamin, vitamin C supports brain activity, has antioxidant properties and contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. “A varied diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, but also in offal, can meet the body’s needs. Numerous studies have shown a drop in vitamin C status during the cold seasons, when we may consume fewer plants than during the summer,” notes Thierry Souccar.

If a good dose of citrus – the clementine season is starting – may be enough, in the event of a deficit, “a vitamin C cure at this season may be indicated, believes the scientific journalist, but this supplementation is not a must. . In reality, it depends on the quantity and quality of the calories consumed: it will be more difficult to ensure sufficient intakes of vitamins and minerals if on a diet that is too rich in ultra-processed products or too low in calories. Especially if you smoke or if you have respiratory function disorders, where the body will need to accumulate vitamin C, ”he continues. It would be a shame, in the middle of cold season, vitamin C is a precious ally to reduce the duration and intensity.

Zinc

Little known, zinc is a valuable trace element, which helps the growth and proper functioning of the immune system. On the plate, it can be found in shellfish, seafood, red meats or eggs, which are better assimilated by the body than that contained in whole grains and vegetable proteins. Or, “nearly 20% of the population would be in deficit, in particular vegetarian or vegan people and the elderly”, notes Thierry Souccar.

However, “it is better not to miss it when the risk of viral infection is high, as is the case at the moment, since zinc has the effect of disrupting the replication of many viruses in the body, adds he. It is probably one of the best allies against colds and certain viral infections, whether in prevention or to reduce their duration. Supplementation may be indicated for certain profiles, provided you take the right dose, neither too much nor too little, i.e. around 15 mg per day”.

Magnesium

It is one of the most popular cures of the season. Magnesium is an essential mineral to help the brain with energy production, protect against stress and slow the aging process. Here again, food can be enough to increase its intake, in particular seafood and oilseeds, “or even mineral waters naturally rich in magnesium”, suggests Thierry Souccar. This can help to better resist stress and regain some energy.

If you still want to take a cure, “you have to know that there are different qualities. There is organic magnesium, a little more expensive but better absorbed by the body, and inorganic – including marine magnesium – which requires a higher dosage for the same benefits, but which can have a laxative effect,” he warns.

Probiotics

If it would not necessarily come to the mind of the greatest number of people to take a cure of probiotics, they are nevertheless the key players in our second brain: the intestinal microbiota, and play a major role in our body. “Probiotics are live bacteria naturally contained in dairy products and other fermented foods such as miso or kefir,” says Thierry Souccar. Food can therefore be sufficient to ensure the quality of the intestinal flora”.

Probiotics essential for health and immune defences, since “disturbances in the microbiota can promote and aggravate respiratory infections, and conversely, when the flora harbors a good diversity of probiotics, this could help strengthen resistance to winter infections, but also to reduce their duration and intensity, he underlines. They could also improve the effectiveness of flu vaccines in the elderly, who develop a weaker immune response. Supplementation can thus be interesting in the fall for people over 65”.

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