When you consider everything a woman’s body is capable of, it’s understandable that she would have specific nutritional needs to stay healthy. Balanced nutrition is key to maintaining optimal health and helps decrease your risk of breast cancer, urinary tract infections, fertility problems, and other health problems. Sometimes it is necessary to utilize supplements for women in combination with other lifestyle changes.
It’s common for women (and men) to have difficulty getting all the essential nutrients their bodies need from food sources alone, and that’s where nutritional supplements come in. Supplements are not meant to provide everything your body needs on their own, but rather help fill nutrient gaps caused by lifestyle choices or dietary restrictions.
Here are a few beneficial supplements known to help improve women’s health.
Our List of 8 Supplements for Women
A multivitamin is a supplement that offers a broad spectrum of nutrients your body may lack. If you don’t have any specific nutritional concerns, a multivitamin is still beneficial to ensuring your body receives all the best vitamins and necessary nutrients, even as your day-to-day diet fluctuates.
Women’s multivitamins typically provide 50% to 100% of the recommended daily value of most of the necessary nutrients everybody needs, like vitamin C and amino acid. There is no standard multivitamin ingredient list, however, making it important to check what is included in the supplement before taking it. Some options will not provide everything women need.
A vitamin B deficiency can cause multiple health issues, such as depression, respiratory problems, loss of appetite, and muscle cramps. Luckily, there are numerous natural B-12 food sources, as B vitamins are commonly found in meat, dairy, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamins included in the B-complex help convert food to energy for proper metabolic function, and other ingredients like biotin, increase hair, skin, and nail health — making vitamin B-12 essential for health and wellness.
This nutrient is known to support bone health, but not everyone understands its function. Vitamin D is similar to other hormones in the female body in that it encourages the movement of essential nutrients — calcium and phosphorus — through your bloodstream. Those nutrients will then be pulled from your bones if your body lacks vitamin D, which may deteriorate bone strength and lead to other serious conditions. Eggs and fish provide the greatest natural source of vitamin D, so vegetarians and vegans are among those that might best benefit from taking a supplement.
People often hear that being out in the sun “gives you” vitamin D. What actually happens is exposure stimulates the production of it in our skin, which is the way our bodies were intended to accrue adequate doses for optimal functioning. Vitamin D then travels to the liver and kidneys to become activated. Sunscreen and indoor activities have limited our ability to make it naturally, which has meant that other sources — like supplements — are necessary to ensure your body is getting enough.
While vitamin K and vitamin D help your body absorb calcium, they are less useful if your body doesn’t have any calcium to absorb. Women’s bones are generally smaller and sometimes weaker compared to men’s, and menopause decreases estrogen production which can lead to increased bone loss.
You’ve probably heard that milk and other dairy products are great sources of calcium, but that can make it difficult for vegans or those with lactose intolerance to achieve the recommended levels. Make sure your body is getting enough calcium from your diet to prevent osteoporosis and other bone problems, and you may want to start taking a calcium supplement if it’s not.
Iron is a powerhouse nutrient that encourages the production of red blood cells, leading to the strengthening of women’s immune systems, brain function, and cell development. Iron deficiency is a common factor of anemia, which can lead to fatigue and immunodeficiency. It impacts women with heavy menstrual cycles specifically, because blood loss depletes iron storage. A doctor can run a blood test to help narrow down whether an iron supplement is right for you.
Women are more prone to digestive issues than men as a result of their frequent hormonal changes, and digestive issues can lead to other health problems. Your gut health requires a delicate balance of microbial bacteria, and probiotics help to regulate your digestive system.
The study of probiotic benefits is ongoing, so it’s still difficult to know which supplement is right for you. A couple of things to look for in probiotic supplements: a colony-forming units (CFU) level between 5 to 20 billion and what goes into proper maintenance, especially for fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, and yogurt.
Omega-3 nutrients are derived from the healthy fats you’ve heard so much about. With numerous benefits ranging from improved mood to healthier skin and nails, this nutrient can benefit every woman at any age. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to women’s overall heart health, for example, as they are known to decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation that may cause heart disease. This nutrient is most potent in fish, such as salmon, sardines, cod, and mackerel. If you don’t eat seafood, fish oil capsules or flaxseed oil are great ways to incorporate omega-3s into your diet.
This nutrient protects against birth defects, so most people associate folate with prenatal vitamins. While it is definitely beneficial to pregnant women or those looking to become pregnant, this essential nutrient also aids in healthy brain and spinal function and encourages the growth of cellular barriers that decrease your risk of developing certain cancers and prevent other blood diseases. Folate is commonly found in green leafy vegetables, like kale or spinach, and other foods high in folate value. Be on the lookout to avoid supplements with folic acid. This is synthetic and can actually interfere with your natural folate pathways.
Need Help with Your Nutritional Needs? Reach Out Today
Every woman’s nutritional needs are different according to age and overall life goals. It’s important to give your body the necessary elements and the best supplements to support your overall well-being. If you’re having a hard time maintaining your balanced diet or meeting your nutritional needs, Dr. Karen R. Threlkel will find the perfect naturopathic plan to meet your goals and assist you in choosing the various supplements for women to choose from today. Contact us today to find out more and schedule a consultation!