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Best Supplements for Women
You May Need These Women’s Supplements And Not Even Know It
You’ve done your research and found the best female multivitamin and women’s supplements for your age group on the market. Wonderful! But is it enough? A multivitamin is great “vitamin insurance” for making sure the basics are covered, but the truth is that many of us are deficient in vitamins and minerals that can’t be supplemented by just a multi. Why? Because some of these nutrients need to be taken in higher doses than most multi’s provide or should be taken in two separate doses spaced apart so the body has time for absorption. So what are the best nutrients and vitamins for women?
We’ve got your back on understanding what your options are. Below is a roundup of the best supplements for women’s health if you’re between the ages of 20 and 40. Our health needs are different because this is the time when we’re experiencing nutrient loss due to childbirth, breastfeeding and menstruation. Making sure you’re getting the nutrients you need is key for feeling your best during these special years. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Our Guide To Women’s Supplements
How Much: 500 IU twice a day
What It Does: D3 has seen its day in the sun since researchers have found that not getting enough contributes to depression. Numerous studies also show D’s crucial role in strengthening bones, boosting immunity and even supporting weight loss.
Signs of Deficiency: Poor immune function (getting sick often); fatigue, muscle pain, depression, impaired wound healing, bone loss, hair loss.
Cautions: The key with Vitamin D3 is to make sure you’re not getting too much. It’s not water-soluble, meaning, your body won’t excrete it through your urine if you overdo it. “Overdoing vitamin D can lead to calcium in the urine, which can cause kidney stones,” Reports Time. “Extremely high doses—around 10,000 IU a day—can trigger calcium deposits in the blood vessels, which can lead to clots that cause heart attacks. The IOM panel recommended no more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily to avoid these potential problems.
Natural sources: The sun. D3 is made in your body with sun exposure. That means during the winter months, or if you live in a city where inclement weather often drives you indoors (we’re looking at you, Seattle), there’s a good chance of being deficient. During your next check up have your Dr. test your levels to see where you fall.
How Much: 400 mcg twice a day
What It Does: Even though many foods are fortified with this B-Vitamin, nearly 2/3 of women in the US are deficient. Our bodies need folate to make DNA and other genetic material. This nutrient also supports nerve and immune function, and is one of the especially important women’s supplements for women who are pregnant for preventing birth defects.
Signs of Deficiency: Poor immune function (getting sick often); chronic low energy including chronic fatigue syndrome, poor digestion (bloating, constipation IBS), anemia, canker sores, premature graying.
Cautions: This nutrient is water-soluble so your body will expel whatever is not needed.
Food Sources: Spinach, avocado, mustard greens, black-eyed peas, asparagus.
How much: 500 mg twice a day (the body cannot absorb more than 600 mg at a time so you need to space it out).
What It Does: We know calcium is needed for strong bones, but that’s not all. This essential mineral also protects cardiac muscles, alkaline pH levels, prevents menstrual depression and helps maintain a healthy body weight.
Signs of Deficiency: Got Milk? Just because we all remember this popular advertising campaign doesn’t mean we’re getting enough of the key nutrient in milk: calcium. Signs of a calcium deficiency include: muscle aches and twitches (hello, Charley horses), gum disease, insomnia and premenstrual cramps.
Cautions: Calcium supplements should be taken with Vitamin D since this vitamin is needed for calcium to be properly absorbed and used in the body. There is some research showing that excess calcium can be harmful, especially for people older than 45. Research shows that rather than being excreted, as we age, excess calcium can accumulate somewhere in the body and lead to an increased risk of heart attack. People older than 45 should consult a physician before calcium supplementation.
Food Sources: Cheese, yogurt, nuts, salmon, seeds, broccoli.
How much: 18 mg of iron per day or 27 mg if you’re pregnant.
What It Does: Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nearly 10 percent of all women in the US are considered deficient. Women need more iron than men because we lose iron during our menstrual cycle. Iron is essential for performing many functions throughout the body including transporting oxygen throughout the blood. Iron also helps metabolize protein and plays a role in the production of red blood cells.
Signs of Deficiency: Anemia, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath.
Cautions: Too much iron is harmful and can lead to iron poisoning. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. As a general rule, don’t take more than 45 mg per day.
Food Sources: White beans, lentils, spinach, kidney beans, duck, sardines, grass-fed beef, lamb, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds.
How much: 200 mg twice a day.
What It Does: Magnesium is a leading nutrient deficiency with 80 percent of the US population being deficient. Though magnesium is not the most present nutrient in the body (it’s most highly concentrated in the heart) it’s involved in more than 300 biochemical bodily functions including regulating heartbeat and neurotransmitter functions. Supplementing with magnesium is shown to increase energy, calm the nerves, help you fall asleep, support digestion, relieve constipation, prevent migraines, supports heart health and regulate calcium and potassium.
Signs of Deficiency: Muscle aches or spasms, restless leg syndrome, worsened PMS, poor digestion, anxiety, trouble sleeping, behavioral disorders and mood swings and cavities.
Cautions: It’s difficult to test magnesium levels. This is because it lives inside cells and bones, not blood. Because there are relatively few side effects of taking magnesium, and because many people are deficient, most health care professionals recommend supplementation.