Research has shown that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplementation helps the body physiologically respond to heat stress. It reduces the likelihood of developing heat-related illnesses such as heat rash and heat exhaustion, and it can also be used to treat heat rash that's already developed. In addition to this, vitamin C supplementation reduces the length of time it takes the body to adjust to a new hotter environment, known as heat acclimatisation - it does this possibly by helping revive the body's sweat glands and keeping them from tiring out due to the heat.
Working as an antioxidant, Vitamin C may help the body protect itself from cell damage by encouraging the production of collagen and the growth of new tissue as well as helping tissue repair itself. These antioxidant effects may help protect the skin from sun damage, including photo-aging.
Preliminary research also suggests that vitamin C may be promising as a natural anti-histamine, as well as a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C may help lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis, possibly most effectively when combined with a plant-derived flavonoid called quercetin, that may help prevent the body from producing histamine. You can find quercetin in red wine, tea and olive oil, as well as in berries and other dark coloured fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin E is another important vitamin that helps protect the skin from damage during hot weather. It works to expel impurities from the body when it's exposed to excessive heat and sweating.
A study published in the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology" revealed that 2 g of vitamin C and 1,000 IUs, of vitamin E can help prevent sunburns. In addition to this, vitamin E also has antioxidant benefits that help protect skin from UV damage when it is used topically before applying sunscreen, both before and after sun exposure.
Similar to the anti-allergy benefits of vitamin C, vitamin E may also help reduce the severity of seasonal allergies (especially when it comes to nasal symptoms) as well as asthma. It is though that vitamin E works by calming the parts of the immune system that activate when the body experiences an allergic response.
Of course, the causes of asthma can vary from person to person, but it can particularly plague many sufferers during the Spring and Summer months. Good news comes in the form of vitamin D which seems promising in helping to control asthma - some early research indicates vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties which may help keep the symptoms of asthma in check.
It is well known that we can get vitamin D through exposure to the sun therefore it should be easy to get sufficient amounts in the summer months. However lots of time spent indoors sitting at desks or in classrooms means it can still be difficult to get enough time out in the rays. This combined with the fact many of us slather on sunblock to protect us from sunburn, means supplementation is advisable all year round.
Vitamin A helps your body repair sun-damaged skin, and provides a way to combat the fine lines and hyper-pigmentation of photo-aging. Vitamin A comes in a number of forms, and it's the compound form retinol that helps the body make needed repairs, including repairing sun-related cell damage and restoring collagen and elastin.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.