Dr Enzo Fornari explains why Autumn is the time to check your health, make plans, and get ready for the winter.

Why review your health in the Autumn?

Checking your general health and body’s performance can be a valuable insight into your wellbeing and help identify potential pending issues. This is especially important during the winter months as we are more prone to conditions including: colds, flu, depression, joint and muscle pain, and skin irritations.

4 Health checks to consider for winter

1. Check vitamin d levels

The UK government advises everyone to take a daily vitamin D supplement to support their general health during autumn and winter [1]. This is because people’s main source of vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight and during the winter months the UK weather has a significantly reduced level and individuals spend more time inside.

Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health, and autoimmune system. Estimates suggest up to one in five adults are deficient in vitamin D [2]. Vitamin D deficiency can can present as symptoms such as fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and general illness and thus the recommendation to check levels and supplement.  However, exceeding recommended daily dosages of vitamins can be just as dangerous as a deficiency.

Checking your vitamin D levels regularly is easy with our at-home vitamin D test. 

2. Keep a diary of your health

Keeping a regular account of your health can help to pick up changes or deterioration in wellbeing. Detecting new forming conditions or changing in your health can limit symptoms and even prevent some from forming. Changes in lifestyle or diet are usually an easy and quick way to prevent long-term illness if you have detected the potential for a condition earlier.

3. Prevent winter related fatigue

Sleep is a vital tool for fighting off winter tiredness and ensuring it is undisturbed and long enough is key [3]. Iron and your thyroid hormones also contribute to fatigue, muscle, and joint issue.

Iron and thyroid hormones aid in the temperature control, heart rate and immune system. Suffering from fatigue or other related symptoms could be a sign of a potential health issue or deficiency. Using an Iron Deficiency test or underactive thyroid test at home can be an affective measure of your general health and early warning sign.

4. Help to optimise your immunity

The winter months can challenge the immune system as it fights the various ranges of season infections. In addition, the body is under further strain due to the reduced sunlight and change in winter diet that can be less fresh.

Ensuring you are eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will help to optimise your immunity.

A full range of balanced vitamins are important for immune function and a deficiency can increase the chances of falling ill. Testing for iron can help as it contributes to immune defence [4].

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vitamin-d-supplementation-during-winter-phe-and-nice-statement/statement-from-phe-and-nice-on-vitamin-d-supplementation-during-winter
  2. https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/11/21/Low-levels-of-vitamin-D-in-UK-extremely-concerning-warns-the-British-Nutrition-Foundation#:~:text=Vitamin%20D%20is%20important%20in,levels%20of%20Vitamin%20D%E2%80%8B.
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/5-ways-to-wipe-out-winter-tiredness/
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/1/236/htm