Summer is upon us, and along with longer days comes higher temperatures and increased sun exposure.
In addition to protective measures such as sunscreen, hats, and hydration, certain nutritional supplements may provide enhanced benefits during the warmer months. These common natural agents can serve as remedies or prevent various summer ailments, especially when administered topically.
Beat the heat with Vitamin C
As you transition from home to car to work during the summer, you put your body through tremendous changes in ambient temperatures by as much as 15 to 20 degrees.
This volatility may lead to summer colds, brought upon by going back and forth between extreme temperatures.
If the body is able to acclimatize to rapid temperature changes, there is less risk of summer colds. Heat acclimatization can also help reduce heat rash. Studies have suggested that vitamin C may help with heat acclimatization by reducing the amount of sweat the body produces over time.1-2
Vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant, so it can help the body produce collagen, a natural protein that fills out the skin over the skeletal structure. Increased collagen production will offset the damage from ultraviolet exposure.
Furthermore, the powerful combination of vitamins C and E can reduce the chance of sunburn, as well as premature skin aging due to excessive sun exposure. Research has suggested that topical application of these two vitamins is as much as 20 to 40 times more effective than the oral form.3
Other vitamins with summer benefits include:
- Vitamin A (retinol): According to researchers at Kaiser Permanente, patients who took oral vitamin A (rather than from food sources) were 60 percent less likely to form skin cancers.4
- Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is essential to keeping our bodies in good health. Patients with a marked vitamin D deficiency have a lowered immune system, making them more susceptible to a whole host of health problems. Although the sun is the best way to stimulate the body’s natural vitamin D response, too much sun exposure carries other risks. Vitamin D3 may strike the perfect balance between offering protective benefits without exposing the body to excessive amounts of sunlight.5
Smart chiropractors will recognize that changes in the seasons often bring about changes in nutritional needs. Talk to your patients about how supplementation can help them enjoy their summer without the risks.
1 Kotze HF, van der Walt WH, Rogers GG, Strydom NB. Effects of plasma ascorbic acid levels on heat acclimatization in man. J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1977;42(5):711-6.
2 Ringsdorff, W.M., Jr. and E. Cheraskin. Vitamin C and tolerance of heat and cold: Human evidence. Orthomolecular Psychiatry. 1982;11(2):128-31.
3 Burke KE. Photodamage of the skin: Protection and reversal with topical antioxidants. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004;3(3):149-55.
4 Hazell, K. “Vitamin A “could prevent skin cancer” say experts.” http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/02/daily-vitamin-could-prevent-skin-cancer_n_1315778.html. HuffPost Women UK. Published Feb. 3, 2012. Accessed June 4, 2015.
5 Trimarchi, M. “What vitamins help you deal with summer heat?” http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/vitamin-supplements/vitamins-for-summer-heat.htm/printable. HowStuffWorks. Accessed June 4, 2015.