From dining alfresco all season to sundresses on repeat, nothing can put a damper on summertime–except incessant bloating, an embarrassing breakout, or an annoying runny nose. Enter: supplements to help address all of your summer wellness concerns. But the last thing you want to do is cramp your Hot Girl Summer era by being bogged down by countless supplements (anyone else overwhelmed AF by all the powders and pills TikTok tells us we need?). So I turned to Dr. Nicole Avena, a nutrition expert and member of SmartyPants Vitamins’ Scientific Advisory Board, to share which supplements and nutrients to hone in on for summer.
PSA: Every body is different with unique needs, so be sure to consult your doctor to create a personalized supplement routine that works best for you. That said, use the following list as a jumping-off point to help address some common summer wellness woes, alongside a nutrient-dense diet. Ahead, five expert-approved supplements to upgrade your summer routine. Health goals? Check. “That Girl” status? Check.
Dr. Nicole Avena
research neuroscientist and nutrition expert
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of childhood nutrition, diet during pregnancy, and food addiction. In addition to a number of best-selling books, including What to Eat When You Want to Get Pregnant, and over 90 scholarly journal articles, she regularly appears on a variety of television and radio programs.
Whether your summer bucket-list plans include jet-setting to Italy or parking it at the beach, consider vitamin C a must-have essential. “Vitamin C is a great immune booster and can help with any bugs on your adventures,” Dr. Avena affirmed. “Vitamin C also helps to maintain skin health throughout the summer and heal sunburn, as it is a great antioxidant.” Because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals which are molecules produced when your body breaks down food into energy, or is exposed to air pollution or ultraviolet light from the sun.
Because our bodies don’t produce vitamin C, we need to depend on food sources (think: citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, red and green peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli) or an oral supplement to load up on the nutrient. For an adult woman, the average daily recommended amount of vitamin C is 75 mg.
While most people get can enough vitamin A from consuming foods such as meats, fish, eggs, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables, people with cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease are more prone to vitamin A deficiency. “In the summer, vitamin A is especially important, because it helps protect against sun damage to the eyes and allows you to see colors brighter and clearer,” Dr. Avena explained. “Vitamin A is also anti-inflammatory, which can help with any extra stress from the environment.”
Vitamin A dietary supplements usually come in the form of retinyl palmitate (preformed vitamin A) and beta-carotene (provitamin A) or a combination of the two. As for how much vitamin A adult women need, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 700 mcg daily.
Let’s be real: There’s nothing worse while traveling than digestive drama, especially bloating and an upset stomach (OK, flight delays rank high up there too). And a top bloating offender is an imbalanced gut microbiome (read: an imbalance of good versus bad bacteria in your gut). Cue probiotics, or living microorganisms that promote gut health—whether in supplement form or from food sources—which can tip the balance in favor of less gaseous bacterial strains, resulting in less gas and bloat. “Probiotics help support a healthy gut microbiome and can prevent GI upset,” Dr. Avena echoed. But it doesn’t hurt to load up on fermented, probiotic-rich foods, including sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and sourdough bread.
Newsflash: Not all probiotics are created equal and how each individual will respond to them will vary. To keep your digestive system in check, opt for high-quality probiotics and take them as directed. When researching the best probiotics for you, consider the types of bacterial strains used, which strains and/or brand names have been studied for their effectiveness, and how the probiotics need to be stored. Check out the US Probiotic Guide to steer you in the right direction for the best probiotics for your needs and goals, and always choose one that is free of additives.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We’re typically more active in the summer (Pickleball, anyone?), and we need our bodies in tip-top shape if we’re going to achieve all of our health goals and make the most of summer 2023, right? Our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids for many functions, especially when we’re active because it helps with everything from muscle activity to cell growth to increased energy. But that’s not all. Dr. Avena explained omega-3 fatty acids are great for hydrating and protecting the skin, thanks to their anti-inflammatory benefits. Research has shown that fish oil supplements can even reduce sun-induced inflammation and may provide sunburn relief (but no, that is not a reason to ditch the SPF).
Omega-3 fatty acids can’t be produced by the body, so we have to source it from food (such as mackerel, salmon, chia seeds, and walnuts) or supplements such as fish oil, which come in a variety of capsules, or pills. In our research, we found there was no official established recommendation on the amount of fish oil you should take; however, many health organizations have set their own guidelines for omega-3 intake that generally range between 250–500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA daily.
Melatonin acts as the body’s naturally-produced hormone that tells the body it’s time to go to sleep. In supplement form, melatonin can help you feel sleepy, which can be helpful when you’re off your normal sleep schedule or battling jet lag. “If you’re switching time zones or even spending extra time watching late-night movies at home, melatonin is a great supporting player for sleep,” Dr. Avena conveyed. “Sleep plays a big role in our energy levels and mood, so getting enough is essential.” Studies show that melatonin can lengthen total sleep time, shorten the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, and enhance sleep quality.
The right dosage can vary from person to person, so speak to your doctor before implementing the sleep aid. If you’re using melatonin to improve sleep quality, Healthline suggests taking it 30 minutes before bedtime for maximum effectiveness. Also, it’s typically recommended to use melatonin on an as-need basis, such as jet lag when traveling or if it feels harder to get to sleep at your regular bedtime when the sun sets later, rather than daily. On a regular basis, your body should produce the melatonin it needs on its own, so discuss with your doctor more long-term solutions if you’re struggling with sleep.
Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.
Source: Cosmo Politian