So it’s a case of New Year, same story.

Covid-19 remains very much part of our lives. Case numbers throughout the UK and Ireland are at an all-time high and here we all are, at the beginning of yet another lockdown.

I think, for most people, there is less fear this time round. We have become more familiar with the virus, most of us know people who have contracted it and come through it, and many of us have contracted it ourselves with varying levels of suffering.

However, being less fearful of Covid shouldn’t lead to us becoming complacent. For all our familiarity with the virus, much about it remains unknown. While Covid is definitely harder on the elderly, there appears to be little pattern in how severely it strikes when it comes to individual experience.

This winter I believe it is vital to protect and support your immune system. When the Covid-19 crisis first broke and science was thrown into panic in its effort to find treatments, research also turned to investigating the potential of nutritional supplements.

There is no doubt that supplementation has come into its own in the fight against Covid, with Vitamins C and D3, and Zinc being the notable successes.

Vitamin D3 is well established for its beneficial effect on immunity, especially in protecting against viral infection. It previously came to the fore as a useful supplement in the fight against bird flu.

Scientific research from Trinity College Dublin last year reported that Vitamin D3 is a potent immune modifying micronutrient that plays an important role in preventing respiratory infections. In one study, Vitamin D3 supplementation was found to reduce the risk of chest infections by half and to reduce the use of antibiotics.

Trinity’s research also showed that healthy Vitamin D3 levels “could benefit vulnerable adults- especially those of 70+ years who are cocooning during the COVID-19 outbreak”. As a result, all people aged over 70 in Ireland, as well as those who fell into high-risk categories, were advised to supplement with Vitamin D3.

Our principal source of Vitamin D comes from its formation on our skin when exposed to direct sunlight. During the winter months many of us are not exposed to enough sunlight to build the level of Vitamin D that our immunity requires.

This winter, those who are shielding or cocooning will have even less exposure. I believe all adults are well advised to supplement with Vitamin D3 (4000-5000iu) this winter. Double this dose if you contract Covid.

Vitamin D3 also has a beneficial effect on mental health, helping to lessen the symptoms of winter sadness. This could be of particular benefit for some people as we face into our first winter lockdown.

We know that Vitamin C can help protect us from catching the common cold and is also a good natural anti-inflammatory in the body. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent inflammatory damage to the lungs and it was used intravenously in hospitals in both Wuhan and New York in the fight against Covid during peak of the pandemic last spring.

The logical thinking is that, by supplementing daily with Vitamin C, your body is at an advantage to deal with inflammation should you contract Covid. Take one gram daily of Vitamin C but increase this dose to as often as two grams hourly if you contract Covid, depending on symptoms.

Last but by no means least, Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system as it plays a role in the way our immune cells communicate with each other. Research has shown that many viruses, including other coronaviruses, are inhibited from replication in the presence of Zinc.

This means that the virus cannot grow and spread as rapidly. While there is no specific research to date on the influence of Zinc on Covid-19, supplementing with Zinc (15-30mg daily) may afford you added protection. Zinc deficiency is very common, particularly in older adults. Interestingly, a lack of Zinc in the body can cause a loss of taste and smell.

There are many supplements available which benefit immunity, but it would be impractical to take them all.

For those seeking to protect and enhance their own immunity this winter, I recommend supplementing with Vitamin D3, Vitamin C and Zinc as a simple and effective way of arming yourself in the fight against Covid.