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Summer health: your guide to which supplements are best to take in the summer months and why.

by Laura Palmer
Summer is finally here and let’s face it, we could all do with some extra sunshine and the positivity it brings. 2020 has turned out to be quite the year– who’d have thought this summer’s must-have accessories would be a face mask and a bottle of hand-sanitising gel?

While we love many aspects of this season: more daylight, warmer weather, time off work, trips abroad…. these months also go hand-in-hand with a particular set of health issues, many of which can be remedied by taking supplements.

Hay fever is perhaps the most obvious. Not considered a serious health issue, but if you’ve ever experienced the constant discomfort of watery, itchy eyes, sneezing up a storm, wheezing and sinus problems, you’ll know how miserable it can be.

Triggered by exposure to certain pollens, hay fever can sometimes be with us all the way from March to September, considerately filling the gap the cold and flu season leaves behind. A particular culprit is grass seed pollen, which causes a whopping 95% of people’s hay fever. Tree pollen is also a major irritant from March until May. Then the baton goes to weed pollen, star turn in the hay fever finale, activating allergies all the way to September.

Over the counter antihistamine tablets or GP prescribed steroids can ease the symptoms for some people, but come with side effects of their own, such as drowsiness, dry eyes and nosebleeds. Not what the doctor ordered and unlikely to have you living your best life this summer.

If you’re looking for a natural alternative, we have some patches that can help. Our Allergy Plus patches contain Quercetin, Stinging Nettles and Bromelain, all very effective at allergy support. They reduce histamine reactions, stabilise mucous production, decrease inflammation and help balance your immune system. Less sniffling, red eyes and itchiness all round – hurray!

Immune support is also worth considering in summer months, as well as the winter. Thankfully Covid-19 case numbers are continuing on a downward trajectory in most places in the UK, but there’s still the dreaded summer cold, always lurking, in spite of all the extra hand washing and mask wearing we’re doing these days. Your immune system will also be dealing with increased exposure to the sun and associated free radicals and potentially a changed diet that can trigger poor gut health flare-ups.

The always excellent Tanya Borowski, a nutrition and functional medicine expert, has written a great piece on the importance of diet, sleep, exercise, gut health and Vitamin D in optimising immune system health. A key take-away for us, was the importance of eating 2 -3 meals a day and avoiding constant grazing and snacking. Leaving a 4 -5-hour gap between eating each meal can help reduce inflammation in the gut and the body as a whole. Definitely worth checking out.

Our June blog post also has some good tips on how to best boost your immune system. If you are currently fighting off illness or summer allergies, we’d recommend our Immune Defense patch. It contains an expertly chosen range of vitamins and herbs that support your immune system so it can work more efficiently.

 Fatigue is another common problem in summer that you may be looking for help with. The longer, balmy nights can often influence us to stay up later. Add to that the temptation to drink that extra glass of wine, or eat that extra helping from the barbecue and it’s no surprise we’re often left feeling slightly sluggish and lacking in energy.

Light exercise and getting out in the sunshine are both simple ways to give yourself an energy injection. You could also consider topping up with our B12 patch. This vitamin improves energy levels and works by supporting everything from carbohydrate metabolism, to the formation of healthy red blood cells. Great to try if you’re feeling lethargic and worn out.

More time outdoors and brighter days can work wonders in improving mental health. Studies have shown that much higher serotonin levels are found in people’s bodies on sunny days. There’s also evidence that UV light influences melanocytes (the cells that cause your skin to tan) to release endorphins, those feel-good chemicals we’re all continually chasing.

That said, most of us are well aware of the downsides of sun exposure. From serious concerns like skin cancer, to negative cosmetic effects: hello premature ageing and liver spots. If you want to enjoy the sun safely, wearing an SPF of at least 30 is a good place to start. Apply every day in the summer months, even on overcast days. Don’t forget eyelids, the back of your knees and ears, the most common places people miss, according to the British Skin Foundation.

Our Sun Away Plus patches are a great little insurance policy for your skin, which you can use in tandem with the above measures. They support your skin at a cellular level, making it more resistant to UV radiation and neutralise free radicals. This means less chance of sunburn and skin damage, plus additional protection that slows premature skin ageing.

Another peril of the summer months is feeling hungover! Probably because of the longer, warmer, lighter nights and holiday mentality – ‘I don’t have to work tomorrow, another chilled rosè it is!’

Overindulging every once in a while is fine, but the dreaded morning-after headache, fatigue and sickness, most definitely isn’t. Prevention is obviously the best cure, but while many of us start a night out with the best of intentions, slip-ups can happen.

Drinking lots of water to re-hydrate, a trip back to bed for more rest and eating bananas (rich in potassium and good for re-balancing your electrolytes) and eggs (a good source of cysteine, an amino acid that your body uses to produce the antioxidant glutathione) will all help that head.

Our Hangover Plus patches might also provide some relief. Slap one on before you have a drink, have a big glass of water before bed and overnight the blend of milk thistle extract, ginger root, alpha lipoic acid and pantetheine should lessen your hangover, by supporting the liver and detox pathways. A must-have for your holiday packing, or to keep in the bathroom cabinet to minimise those morning-after moments.

 Later nights, not eating your regular diet and drinking more alcohol can cause you to become rundown. If you find you’re suffering from things like fatigue, mouth ulcers and cold sores, that’s probably what’s going on. Cleaning up your diet, cutting down on the booze and trying to clock in the ‘holy grail’ eight hours of sleep a night, will get you back on track.

This isn’t always possible if you’re holidaying, or circumstances mean you can’t keep to your usual routine.  A good cheat in this situation is to take a multivitamin. Our Multivitamin Plus patch provides many of the vitamins and minerals you might be missing if your eating habits and sleep routine haven’t been up to scratch for a few weeks. Supplementation could be the key to seeing out the summer feeling well. Then before we know it, autumn will arrive and normal service will resume, until Christmas that is…