What vitamins and minerals should I take in the winter?

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably aware that winter is coming (some might say already here) which means new obstacles such as illness are lurking in the shadows of the cold, long days, ready to get in the way of your training and active lifestyle.

It’s a question we get asked a lot… ‘What supplements should I take in winter’? For such a simple question it doesn’t half come with so many complex answers. It all depends on you, your goals, your lifestyle, your current health etc. which is why we always recommend that before anyone adds or changes anything in the diet or supplement routine, they check with their registered healthcare professional first.

And again, if it wasn’t obvious already, or if you have been living under a rock, it should come as no surprise that diet and nutrition can play a vital role in supporting your immune system throughout the winter months and today, we have put together our essential winter supplement guide to help you weather the storm and optimise your health and performance…

Vitamin D

With shorter days, that means less natural sunlight available to us to promote the natural production of Vitamin D – a crucial vitamin for a whole host of body systems. Vitamin D’s primary role is to regulate calcium and phosphate in the body – two nutrients that help keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy

Vitamin D is also required to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and maintain cardiovascular health. Put simply, without it, we are at risk of significantly impacting our overall health.

During the summer months, we are confidently able to get enough Vitamin D through normal sunlight exposure alone. The big challenge during winter is access to sunlight and so for many of us in the northern hemisphere, without realising it we are Vitamin D deficient. 

Taking a supplement from October through to April is a great way to support your health and performance during the colder months and before we transition properly into spring and summer. However, for some, taking a Vitamin D supplement of up to 4000IU (like our Active Vitamin D3) is a staple of their daily diet year-round and this is a perfectly safe and sensible thing to do in our opinion. 

Perhaps you work indoors a lot or do shifts at night and so sleep during the day – a Vitamin D supplement would be an ideal addition to your daily diet to support your active lifestyle.

Vitamin C

This is another jack of all trades. A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C works to protect our cells from oxidative stress (alongside Vitamins A & E), in doing so, maintaining healthy skin, bones, blood vessels, cartilage as well as helping with wound healing too.

Word on the street has been, for many years, focused on the idea that Vitamin C is the number one at-home remedy for preventing coughs and colds. However, up to date research has instead found that taking Vitamin C everyday does not reduce your risk of getting a cough or a cold in the first place. Instead, it lessens the severity of the symptoms and can shorten the duration of the illness.

Therefore, getting enough of the vitamin is particularly important during winter when there is usually a spike in people suffering from colds, coughs, and sneezes. But that’s not all…

Vitamin C is also an important co-factor for collagen biosynthesis plus Its other benefits include reducing tiredness and fatigue by contributing to the normal metabolism of iron.

Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, sprouts, potatoes, and red and green peppers. But… it's important to note that vitamin C can't be stored in the body, so it is an essential part of your daily diet; either through foods or supplements that contain Vitamin C. 

Current recommendation suggests that at least 40mg per day is required which is why our Active Collagen recovery gels contain exactly that, to maximise collagen biosynthesis.


B Vitamins

Next up is a group of vitamins, often referred to as the B Vitamin Complex.

The B vitamins are a group of 8 vitamins that, like Vitamin D and C play key roles in a variety of body systems. But they are especially effective in improving our mood, and cognitive functions as well as being critical for a healthy and balanced nervous system.

Vitamin B12, can help us during the winter as it has been shown to help those suffering from anxiety and depression. This is so important in winter when instances of depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or just the dreaded winter blues are at a yearly high.

Vitamin B12 does this working hand in hand with another important mineral Magnesium… but more on that in a bit.

All 8 B Vitamins have a range of benefits for the human body:

  • Vitamin B1 has been shown to aid the normal function of the heart.
  • Vitamin B6 supports protein and glycogen metabolism.
  • Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12 can all help reduce tiredness and fatigue to support exercise and training intensity.

The only downside is that it is found almost exclusively in animal protein sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs - therefore vegans or those on a plant-based diet are at risk of deficiency as it's unlikely they will be able to obtain enough through diet alone.

B Vitamins can be found individually in supplements, but knowing how important each one is, it isn’t very cost-effective to be taking that many tablets. A good multivitamin should contain the full B Vitamin Complex (but not all of them do) and are a cost-effective and appealing way to get your daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals.

U Perform’s Active Balance contains 71 essential vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, amino acids and more to help you optimise your diet – all in just 2 easy-to-swallow tablets per day.


A transition metal, Zinc is essential for the immune system whilst also contributing to normal protein synthesis the metabolization of our food too. Like Vitamin C, it supports our immune system and fights oxidate stress to help reduce the duration and intensity of cold-like symptoms. 

Because it is a mineral, Zinc is something that we need to obtain from external sources – the body unfortunately doesn’t make it on its own. Foods such as meat, fish, shellfish, as well as cheese and, legumes, are naturally rich in Zinc. 

Outside of that, supplements are a great way to ensure you are consuming enough Zinc in your diet. Because the amount of Zinc that you need per day (9.5mg/day for men and 7mg/day for women) is quite small, often Zinc is included in supplements with other ingredients; for example, a multivitamin or in our Active Collagen gel alongside some other vitamins and minerals that support an active lifestyle.

If, however, you are interested in taking a Zinc supplement on its own, we advise that you look for supplements in either capsules or soft gels that list the supplement form of Zinc as Zinc Gluconate. This is not only the cheapest and most accessible, but also has the best bioavailability.



Along with supporting our brain and our mood, Magnesium is known to contribute to healthy bones and teeth and help with the functioning of the nervous system and protein synthesis.

Magnesium is also known to help with relaxation which makes it a very good supplement to take prior to going to bed if you are having trouble with the quality or quantity of sleep.

Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function and acts to relieve tight, sore, and cramped muscles. It is involved in relaxing a muscle and works in opposition with calcium which contracts skeletal and cardiac muscle. It can therefore be vital in the treatment of back pain and cramps by relaxing and releasing muscular tension as well as maintaining normal muscle contractions and a healthy heartbeat too.

There are lots of different types of Magnesium that can be sourced in supplements – each with their own unique properties. If you are looking for the above benefits, then you will want to look out for the following in your supplements:

  1. Magnesium Citrate
  2. Magnesium Bisglycinate
  3. Magnesium L-threonate 

Any one of those are widely available, cost-effective, and highly bioavailable too!



Now this isn’t a vitamin or mineral per say (although it does contain lots of them) but Colostrum is an essential supplement during the winter. In our eyes it acts as a great ‘emergency first-aid kit’ when the immune system is feeling the strain or when you are in the middle of a high volume or high intensity training block and want to ensure that illness doesn’t stop you in your tracks.

But what is Colostrum?

Colostrum is a nutrient-dense first drink produced by mammals for their new-born and contains essential nutrients including growth factors, antibodies and lactoferrin to promote growth and regulate immune responses.

It has been shown that natural antibody levels in bovine colostrum are up to 100 times higher than in regular cow’s milk, making bovine colostrum a powerful and convenient supplement for those looking to support their immune system and muscles with high-quality nutrition.


And last but by no means least… COLLAGEN! Our specialty subject… for good reason. We have been working with collagen for almost 20 years and know firsthand just how much of a difference it can make to any injury prevention and injury recovery program. 

Strengthening ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones, collagen can play a massive part in the daily maintenance of the all the important tissues that are routinely damaged through exercise and physical activity.

There are lots of different types of collagens in the human body, with each one performing its own unique role. Types I, II, and III are the most abundant and are the focus of our collagen supplements Active Collagen, Active Whey & Collagen, and Active Sport Collagen.



Winter miles equal summer smiles is the saying, right? Well, we certainly think so. But the winter miles take their toll, and if left unchecked can put a stop to your progress. However, as you have just found out, there are plenty of little things that you can do each day to give your body and mind the best chance of making it through winter unscathed. 

Is there a question you have for us about winter training, supplements, or recovery? Get in touch and we will make sure to get back to you as soon as possible with an answer. We’ll even draft in the help of our co-founder and sports science expert, Professor Greg Whyte OBE, to make sure you get the absolute best information.

Other blogs you might like

the bottom of a runners leg with an xray effect showing a sports injury in the ankle

In the event of a sports injury call the POLICE

Don't Panic, Call the POLICE! (Not Really, But Read On...) Hey there, athletes! We've all been there – that sickening moment during a game when a pain shoots through your body and you know something's wrong. Before you reach for your phone to dial 999 (it's not those kinds of...

5 min read

young female athlete standing on the pavement, drinking water and resting after exercising

Your Recovery Toolkit

We see it time and time again, athletes and fitness enthusiasts training like champions, but neglecting their recovery. A sure-fire way to compromise your training gains if you ask me. But I get it, when you are not a professional athlete, it can be hard enough to fit in exercise...

8 min read

group of runners in a running race

Sports tech that will make you faster

Have you ever seen an ad for a new bit of sports kit that boasts simply incredible gains, so much so that you couldn’t help but grab it faster than triathlete takes off a wetsuit. Yeah, we have too! But with so many brands and products out there, it’s becoming...

6 min read

Preview slide
Next slide