Black Friday Vitamin Sales Worth Shopping, From a Doctor

The supplements aisle contains a dizzying amount of products. (Valerian root? Horny goat weed?) Come Black Friday, you’ll be able to shop plenty of these dietary supplements at a major price cut. To help you sort through what’s worth your dollars—and what simply is not—I consulted Matthew Kohler, MD, and Rajivan Maniam, MD, functional medicine doctors and co-founders of Ospina Medical in New York City.

Despite the countless options on the shelf, Dr. Kohler and Dr. Maniam say the average person really only needs to consider five supplements. As always, you should consult your own doctor before adding new supplements to your diet.

The vitamins and supplements to buy on Black Friday

1. Vitamin D

black friday vitamin sales
Photo: Swanson Vitamins

“Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ has long been pinned as one of the most common vitamin deficiencies that many of us suffer from,” says Dr. Maniam. “While seemingly benign, deficiency in Vitamin D may in fact be propagating pain. To date, there are several observational studies showing an association between vitamin D deficiency and different pain conditions including low back pain, menstrual cramps, and chronic pain.” Dr. Maniam adds that taking vitamin D supplements has the possibility of offering many positives with no known negative side effects, so hey, it’s worth a shot!

Shop Black Friday sale: Vitamin D, $10 (originally $12)

2. Vitamin B12

Photo: HUM

Vitamin B12 is like catnip for the brain—and Dr. Kohler recommends it for anyone who wants some extra cognitive sharpness. “Vitamin B12 is essential for many biological functions and offers numerous known benefits including energy production and assisting in more efficient cellular reproduction,” he says.  B12 is also credited with improving your mood, supporting fetal development, and improving memory—so yeah, it’s worth adding to your medicine cabinet with your doc’s okay.

Shop Black Friday sale: Vitamin B12, up to 50 percent off $10

3. Vitamin C

black friday vitamin sales
Photo: Ancient Nutrition

Vitamin C may be best known for its immune system-boosting abilities, but Dr. Kohler recommends it for another reason. “Vitamin C is a critical nutrient for patients with pain or recent injuries—not only for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-relieving abilities but also for its role in tissue repair and regeneration,” says Dr. Kohler. “Vitamin C helps accelerate the healing process and protects the body from free radical damage. This becomes especially important in patients who have sports injuries such as tendonitis or ligament sprains.” Athletes, this supplement’s for you.

Shop Black Friday sale: Ancient Nutrients Vitamin C + Probiotics, $14 (originally $19)

4. Vitamin K

Photo: Swanson

“Vitamin K works as an enzyme cofactor that has been implicated in inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis,” says Dr. Maniam. “Inflammation is recognized as a crucial component of many chronic aging diseases and evidence suggests vitamin K has an anti-inflammatory action.”

Shop Black Friday sale: Swanson K-2, Buy one at $10 and get one free

4. Vitamin E

black friday vitamin sales
Photo: HUM

Dr. Maniam says vitamin C is another one that’s essential for anyone who takes their workout

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Cold temperatures, vitamin A can help the body burn more fat, study shows

People looking to lose weight may start embracing the winter months after a new study found cold temperatures and increased vitamin A encourage fat burning.

The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Metabolism last week, explored the effects cold temperatures and vitamin A had on converting white fat, which is where excess calories are stored, to brown fat, which “stimulates fat burning and heat generation.”

More than 90% of the human body’s fat deposits are white fat, which is stored in the abdomen, bottom and upper thighs, the study shares.

Cold temperatures applied to mice was found to increase vitamin A production, which resulted in higher fat burning. 

Cold temperatures applied to mice was found to increase vitamin A production, which resulted in higher fat burning. 
(iStock)

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According to the findings, cold temperatures increased vitamin A levels, which helps convert white to brown fat, thus stimulating fat burning. Vitamin A reserves are mostly stored in the liver. Once cold was applied to the mice in the study, the increases in “the levels of vitamin A and its blood transporter, retinol-binding protein” led to a higher rate of fat burning as the white fat converted to brown as the body attempting to keep itself warm.

Alternatively, when “the vitamin A transporter ‘retinol-binding protein’” was blocked in mice, the fat did not “brown” and the mice were unable to protect themselves from the cold.

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The study is promising in finding solutions to dealing with weight gain and obesity. Though the study’s lead researcher, Florian Kiefer from the Medical University of Vienna, cautioned against taking large quantities of vitamin A supplements in an effort to lose weight.

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“Our results show that vitamin A plays an important role in the function of adipose tissue and affects global energy metabolism. However, this is not an argument for consuming large amounts of vitamin A supplements if not prescribed, because it is critical that vitamin A is transported to the right cells at the right time,” explains the MedUni Vienna researcher. “We have discovered a new mechanism by which vitamin A regulates lipid combustion and heat generation in cold conditions. This could help us to develop new therapeutic interventions that exploit this specific mechanism.”

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Coronavirus and Vitamin D: Your Questions Answered

With winter looming and a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus being experienced in major UK cities such as London, Liverpool and Manchester, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is now urging people to take vitamin D to boost overall health and, with new evidence being found, to potentially protect the public against this surge in covid-19 cases.

Part of a wider increase in public health messaging, the Government is encouraging people to take vitamin D daily — the NHS recommends around 10 micrograms of vitamin D, equivalent to one salmon fillet — which will help keep bones and muscles healthy as local ‘lockdowns’, social restrictions and weather changes keep people indoors throughout winter.

Currently, it’s thought that one in five Brits are deficient in vitamin D — that’s around 13 million people — and, with the body usually creating vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin, it’s an important vitamin to take during winter when days are shorter and darker.

Add to this Matt Hancock’s recent U-turn on government advice to vitamin D supplementation and it’s a no-brainer that investing in the supp is a smart move. “Blood vitamin D levels go down when people develop serious illness. The same thing happens to other blood tests such as blood cholesterol, or blood zinc levels, which also fall when someone is sick. These changes are part of what is called the acute phase response. Moreover, the sicker people are, the more exaggerated are these changes,” explained Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at University of Glasgow.

“This means that it is likely the occurrence of illness that is leading to lower blood vitamin D levels… and not that low vitamin D levels, are causing Covid-19.”

With this in mind, we’ve assembled our go-to vitamin D guide, with expert input from nutritionists and health experts, to help you clear up any confusion.

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