Women’s bodies undergo several changes throughout life. Several physical and hormonal changes affect a woman’s life from the premenopausal stage to old age. The biochemical processes that bring about these changes in a woman’s body require nutrients, which may be obtained from food and supplements.
Supplements have become such an important part of our diet. Women’s supplements are specially formulated to keep women healthy and provide nutrients for various uniquely feminine processes. Here, we take a deeper dive into women’s supplements, their benefits, and some essential women’s supplements.
What are Women’s Supplements?
Supplements are formulations of herbs, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other bioactive ingredients, taken in the form of pills, capsules, gel, powder, gummies, etc., used to meet the body’s nutritional demands not met through food. Currently, over 80% of American adults take at least one supplement daily, according to a survey by the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Most individuals cannot envisage their diet without one or more of these supplements because they are taken for various reasons and have integrated themselves so seamlessly into daily life.
While many supplements contain different important elements that benefit everyone, some are targeted exclusively at women. Such supplements are known as women’s supplements. Women’s supplements have increased concentrations of certain nutrients like biotin, omega 3-6-9, vitamin C, collagen, and folic acid. These nutrients are essential for women, helping to refuel their bodies as they age and undergo childbirth, menopause, and other female-related body changes.
Benefits of Supplements to Women’s Health
They Help to Reduce the Risk of Infectious and Chronic Diseases
Many supplements contain potent antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and zinc that help strengthen the body’s immune systems and protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Cell damage caused by oxidative stress is a defining feature of many chronic diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases. These antioxidants packed within supplements help mop up these free radicals and protect the cells from damage. The antioxidants also protect immune cells from damage, allowing optimal immune functioning and protecting the body from xenobiotics.
They Help to Manage High Blood Pressure
Many supplements contain nutrients like omega-3, potassium, and L-arginine that influence cardiovascular biochemical processes and help reduce blood pressure and protect against cardiovascular accidents. These supplements are helpful in individuals with established cardiovascular dysfunction and otherwise healthy persons, helping to prevent these diseases.
Prevent Abnormalities During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most demanding periods in a woman’s life. Naturally, the nutritional requirements increase exponentially during this period, with the developing baby requiring several nutrients to develop properly. Pregnant women often cannot meet their nutritional requirements through food alone. Supplements are highly beneficial for pregnant women, providing nutrients like Iron, folic acid, B-vitamins, vitamin A, etc., needed by the developing baby and the changing woman.
Supplements Help to Prevent Nutrient Deficiency in the Body
The body requires nutritional micromolecules in various amounts to perform various functions. From tissue development to nervous signaling, every single biological process relies on one nutrient. Often, individuals cannot get these nutrients in the correct proportion, leading to conditions known as deficiency states. For instance, vegetarians often have vitamin B12 deficiency due to lowered meat intake. Conversely, people who eat less dairy will likely have calcium deficiencies. These deficiency states may cause mild to severe, potentially dangerous effects. Nutritional supplements are beneficial because they help patch up these nutritional deficiencies, helping the body avoid diseases.
Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Old Age
Typically, cognitive function declines as an individual age. The influence of oxidative stress and other neurological and biochemical processes causes neuronal cell death and a decline in cognitive abilities. Supplements contain antioxidants and other active compounds that help to protect the brain cells from damage and preserve the integrity of neuronal functioning. These supplements prevent cognitive decline and even help improve memory.
Essential Nutrients Needed in Women’s Supplements
Calcium is an essential macronutrient needed by the body in relatively large amounts. Calcium constitutes 1 and 2% of the total body weight and is especially found in the bones and teeth.
Women need higher calcium intake than men, especially after menopause. Post-menopausal women are at high risk of osteoporosis and thus require calcium In higher amounts. Besides, women need calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth for proper nerve functioning, blood clotting, and generally for normal cell functioning.
Fish oil is known to promote a healthy heart. Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish like mackerel, albacore tuna, salmon, herring, and lake trout. Omega-3 fats are needed for a healthy heart and blood vessels. They help in reducing one’s risk of heart disease. They also perform other bodily functions like reducing inflammation, supporting healthy joints, and maximizing brain abilities. Fish oil supplements are best for women who do not eat fish regularly, women with high triglycerides, pregnant and nursing mothers, and women with obesity.
Folate supplement is a water-soluble B vitamin. Food sources of folate are spinach, asparagus, cantaloupe, etc. Folate is needed in the body to help you stay healthy, and the cells function properly. Folate is important in pregnant women to help prevent neural tube abnormalities, like spina bifida in the fetus. It also helps reduce the risk factors of heart disease by maintaining the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Generally, adult women need folate supplements, especially during fertile years. It can also be taken as prenatal supplements.
B vitamin contains biotin, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12). The food sources of B vitamins are fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. B vitamins are an energizer; they provide energy to the body. B vitamin supplements are required for the production of energy for day-to-day activities. Biotin is responsible for its role in maintaining healthy, and Vitamin B6 and B12 help to reduce the risk of heart diseases in women. Women who undergo stressful activities daily and women over 50 needs B vitamin supplement in their body.
Coenzymes Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient found in meat, fish, and other food. They help you to reduce the effect of aging. Coenzymes Q10 act as antioxidants in the body, helping produce energy in the cells. They also protect your body against quick aging and help maintain functioning blood vessels and the heart. This supplement is best for vegetarians and women at risk of developing cancer and heart diseases.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin produced in the body. Vitamin D can be obtained from body exposure to sunlight, milk, egg yolk, red meat, liver, and other foods rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements help the body develop and maintain healthy bones; they also help prevent osteoporosis and other diseases. Women who do not have direct access or exposure to sunlight, women over 50, pregnant and lactating mothers, and women who do not eat dairy products milk should take Vitamin D supplements.
Lutein, also known as carotenoids, is a fat-soluble nutrient. They are found in the human body’s breast, skin, and cervical tissue. The food sources of Lutein are egg yolk, corn, fruits, spinach, and other types of fruits. They act as antioxidants, helping protect the eyes against the harmful effects of free radicals. Lutein helps prevent blindness and age-related macular degeneration and improves overall health conditions. This supplement is best for women with a family or case history of age-related macular degeneration and women who are exposed to pollutants and direct sunlight frequently.
Best Supplements for Women
The best women’s supplements contain adequate proportions of the most important nutrients required by women. These supplements have proven effective in promoting women’s health and wellness. Some of the best women’s supplements include;
- Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3
- Opti-women multivitamin with vitamin D, K, Folic acid, Calcium Biotin, and 40 other vitamins and minerals
- Futurekind Vegan Multivitamin. Specially formulated with B12, D3, and Omega-3 for vegans
- OLLY women’s multivitamin
- Ritual Essentials for Women
Precautions to Take When Using Women’s Supplements
Although relatively safe, supplements are still drugs and can have adverse effects if taken wrongly. You must follow certain precautions when taking these supplements to avoid these effects.
- Consult your health care provider before using any supplements for any condition
- Get approval from a medical practitioner before using supplements, and avoid self-prescribed drugs.
- Inform your physician if you are on any supplements before undergoing any surgical procedure.
- Some supplements are natural, but being natural doesn’t imply that they are safe. Before using these supplements, you should be very careful about the type of supplements and their chemical composition.
When prescribed supplements, you should ask questions regarding the benefits of the supplements to your body, the safety risk, dosage, how to use, when to use, and the duration or how long you are to use the supplements. All this information will give you proper direction and guidelines on how best to use the supplements and maximize their benefits.
Women require supplements throughout life to maintain proper functioning. Every significant stage in a woman’s life, from adolescence to childbirth to menopause, requires a sufficient supply of nutrients supplied through supplements. Nutrients like calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, and Lutein are essential for women and are obtainable from the supplement products listed above. Remember that supplements are drugs and may be harmful if consumed haphazardly.