9 Vitamins And Supplements All Women Should Take For Optimal Wellness
Female athletes and active women require adequate nutrition for optimal health and performance. Check out these 9 vitamins and supplements all women should take!
By now, you’re probably well aware that your body needs vitamins and minerals to you’re your body strong and healthy. Experts agree that obtaining key vitamins and minerals should always come from food first. But, acquiring all the essential vitamins and minerals from food alone is far from realistic. While you do get a wide variety of essential nutrients from your foods, trying to eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables, protein, and healthy omega 3 fats, is difficult, to say the least. Supplements are not meant to replace your nutrition but merely meant to bridge the gaps when you’re… not so perfect. Female athletes and active women require adequate nutrition for optimal health and performance. Vitamins are meant to fill the void in your nutrition, to keep you happy, healthy, and performing at your highest level.
B-Vitamins are comprised of eight complex and essential water-soluble vitamins that play pivotal roles in cellular function and energy metabolism, acting as co-enzymes in many catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions for physical activity.1 Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that B-vitamins can greatly benefit energy metabolism, neurological function, neural inflammation, and oxidative stress.2 Most B-vitamins remain stored in the body, therefore they must be acquired from your diet or supplementation.
Supplementing with a B-vitamin complex is very beneficial for women, especially since it contains biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid (vitamin B9). Biotin of course helps support healthy hair, skin, and nails similar to the benefits of collagen.3 Folate as well as vitamin B12 functions as a coenzyme in the development process of DNA, red blood cell synthesis, and amino-acid metabolism. Folate is crucial in preventing anemia, which can lead to serious health issues such as the increased risk of cervical, colon, and brain cancer. Folate is especially important during pregnancy – in fact, getting enough folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent serious birth defects according to the CDC.
Krill Oil (Omega-3)
Omega-3s also known as essential fatty acids (EFA)s have a heap of health benefits. The body requires EFAs for optimal health but cannot make these essential fatty acids on its own. EFAs are ‘essential’ meaning, these types of fats must be consumed in your diet or obtained from a dietary supplement, such as krill oil. The human body requires both groups of EFAs (omega-3 and omega-6) to survive, however, the typical modern-day diet is much higher in omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3, making supplementation critical to your overall health. In fact, anthropological evidence suggests that the average western diet contains a ratio of 16:1 omega-6 to omega-3, with 98% of all Americans below the general requirement of omega-3 intake. Too much omega-6 can be pro-inflammatory and lead to serious health issues such as increased blood pressure and risk for stroke or heart attack. Without consuming foods such as avocados, walnuts, or seafood like salmon on a regular basis, you won’t get the adequate amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that you need.
Research shows that the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 significantly benefit proper brain function, joint health, and heart health. But why krill oil instead of fish oil? What’s the catch?
Krill oil naturally contains a powerful antioxidant called Astaxanthin which has been proven to help reduce the signs of aging and benefits skin health. Astaxanthin helps reduce free radical damage. Free radical damage and exposure to ultra-violet light cause collagen and elastin fibers to break down, resulting in a lack of elasticity and wrinkles, enhancing the aging process. High concentrations of omega-3’s found in krill help normalize skin lipids, keeping your skin strong and hydrated, which decreases the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Studies have proven that supplementing 500mg of krill oil once per day can help improve your skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, age spots, and skin texture.4
In addition to slowing the aging process, research shows that krill oil can also reduce the severity of PMS symptoms such as acne, upset stomach, bloating, fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea, headache, backache, food cravings, joint and muscle pain, poor concentration or memory, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.5 Symptoms associated with PMS may be greatly reduced or even disappear with consistent supplementation of krill oil, due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
A reduction in physical symptoms will also produce a positive impact on emotional well-being. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you aren’t in pain, get better sleep, or your complexion is on point, you’ll be in a better mood. Nevertheless, for the same reason that omega-3’s reduce depression, they also help with mood swings during the menstrual cycle, by increasing dopamine and serotonin secretion.
Related: 7 Benefits of Krill Oil and Why You Should Be Taking It
Classified as a pro-hormone, vitamin D is unique in the fact that it does not act as a vitamin at all. Vitamin D is synthesized through your skin after exposure to sunlight and regulates a host of different biological functions such as inhibition of cellular proliferation, inducing terminal differentiation, stimulating insulin production, and building strong bones. Without a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your diet, only 10–15% of dietary calcium and about 60% of phosphorus are absorbed. But vitamin D is not just healthy for your bones – research suggests that vitamin D may be vital in preventing many serious long-term health problems. Several studies show that vitamin D can aid in decreasing the risk of heart disease, improving mood state and depression, decreasing muscular pain, and improving immune health.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) or DIM is an ingredient found in cruciferous vegetables such a broccoli, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale. DIM is one of the best supplements for women and has remarkable benefits supporting hormone regulation, thyroid function, and PMS symptoms by detoxifying the body and regulating hormones.
DIM blocks an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. It then converts ‘bad’ estrogen into ‘good’ estrogen. More good estrogen is correlated with lower body fat, more muscle mass, higher quality collagen in skin and joints, healthy bone density, and improved antioxidant protecting the body from free radical damage. Bad estrogen is associated with PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, water retention, and low sex drive.
An enzyme called aromatase converts a portion of our testosterone into estrogen in both men and women. DIM naturally inhibits aromatase, so more testosterone is freely available in your system. Not only does increased testosterone allow you to hold onto more muscle mass, but there is also less aromatase available and therefore, less harmful estrogen metabolites leading to fewer PMS symptoms. Testosterone, believe it or not, is the most active female hormone in the body. Thus, making DIM one of the best essential nutrients for women.
ZMT is a natural herbal supplement packed with powerful vitamins and minerals proven to improve women’s health. Made with zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and natural testosterone boosting ingredients such as DIM, fenugreek, rhodiola, and tongkat, ZMT can help promote better sleep, boost energy, improve strength, promote a positive mindset, reduces stress, maintain a healthy sex drive, and improve your quality of life.
Testosterone is a very powerful hormone, not only in men but also in women. Testosterone is the most abundant biologically active hormone in women. Women, however, are much more sensitive to androgens than men, and the amount of testosterone in your body can vary. Enhanced testosterone levels can greatly enhance a positive mindset, elevating overall mood, mindset, and enhancing sexual desire.
One of the main ingredients in ZMT, magnesium helps calm the nervous system and “normalize hormones” mainly progesterone. Studies have found that magnesium regulates the smooth muscle tissue of the uterus and reduces prostaglandins that can cause period pain. Magnesium also promotes healthy estrogen clearance by supporting the CMOT enzyme, which helps regulate hormones.
Zinc, yet another key ingredient of ZMT is a trace mineral and element that helps with important biological processes such as hormone balance, production, regulation, and reducing symptoms of PMS. Studies have shown that zinc in combination with magnesium plays a vital role in fertility as it helps the production of estrogen and progesterone, which may also balance mood and vitality.
Collagen is a robust structural protein found in the connective tissues of our bodies. Collagen contains amino acids not typically found in the average American diet, such as glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which can help rebuild and repair joints, bones, muscle tissue, and support healthy hair, nails, and skin elasticity. Like most essential vitamins and minerals, the body’s natural collagen production declines as you age, dropping around 1% each year after your mid-twenties. With the gradual decline in collagen production naturally comes an acceleration in the aging process, affecting specific signs of aging such as wrinkles, saggy skin, and even cellulite.
Greens and Reds
Hitting your daily recommended intake of fruit and veggies can be a very challenging task. But what if you could drink all of your power-packed greens and antioxidant-filled reds with one small scoop and 8 oz of water? Greens and reds powder supplements do just that. They’re rich in vital phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals from superfood ingredients like chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, pomegranate, and blueberries so that you can get the ingredients you need to power your active lifestyle,
Greens powders come from a variety of potent and nutrient-rich dehydrated, vegetables, super greens, and blue algae, namely spirulina, chlorella, and wheatgrass. Greens powders may also contain reds or antioxidant blends consisting of anti-inflammatory and nitrate-rich ingredients like pomegranate, beetroot, raspberries, or blueberries.
Greens and reds are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, such as B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, calcium chlorophyll, and omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can greatly benefit overall health and wellness.
However, finding a high-quality greens and reds supplement can be quite challenging. 90% of greens and reds powders are under-dosed, meaning that they don’t contain enough nutrient-rich super greens and antioxidant-rich reds to make a substantial impact on your health. Studies suggest that you need at least 500-3,000mg per ingredient to reap any proposed health benefits. When searching for greens and reds supplement, ensure it’s proprietary blend free and contains adequate doses, to have a positive impact on your health.
Related: 5 Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System
Over the past decade, researchers have discovered that your digestive system is filled with up to 40 trillion microbes, collectively known as your gut microbiota. This tiny army of healthy bacteria supports your body’s ability to digest and absorb key nutrients from the food you eat to literally power every human biological function. If you don’t adequately absorb nutrients from the food you eat, then your body will not obtain the key vitamins and minerals it needs to perform those biological functions efficiently.
Probiotics have been shown to enrich gut health, aid in digestion, support weight loss, enhance mood, and enhance cognitive function.
Probiotics can also help with PMS symptoms. About 5–8% of women suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS); most of these women also meet the criteria for the premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).6 Mood and behavioral symptoms, including irritability, tension, depressed mood, tearfulness, and mood swings, are the most distressing, but somatic complaints, such as breast tenderness and bloating, can also be problematic. Probiotics can positively influence mood symptoms including many of the ones expressed prior to menstruation. Probiotics can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress by positively influencing your immune response to hormonal changes within the body.7
Turmeric has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest known herbal remedies for holistic medicine in human history. Recent studies have indicated that turmeric, specifically its active component curcumin, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and promotes joint health, mobility, and can reduce minor aches and pains.
One of the main benefits of turmeric, primarily curcumin is found in its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Research has shown that curcumin is a highly active molecule that modulates the inflammatory response by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines.
Chronic inflammation can lead to disease and illness, such as cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis.8 By proactively supplementing turmeric, you can help reduce chronic inflammation, protecting yourself from chronic illness and disease.
Several studies have recently been initiated to define turmeric’s unique role and mechanism of action on arthritic pain, specifically joint inflammation and mobility by reducing joint swelling. Preliminary studies have shown that curcuminoids contribute to anti-arthritic effects, helping to reduce joint swelling and inflammation, up to 48%.9
The Best Vitamins For Women: Takeaway
A well-balanced and nutritious diet, full of dark leafy greens, lean proteins, healthy fats, and quality carbohydrates is always preferred to get vital and key nutrients into your diet. But let’s face it, with the hustle and bustle of your busy professional, non-stop lifestyle, running from task to task can cause some major eating constraints, hormonal imbalances, menstrual complaints, and chronic fatigue. Supplements can help nutritional inconsistencies and gaps, to ensure you’re getting vital and key nutrients, to enrich your health and happiness, instead of guzzling caffeine, losing precious hours of sleep, and pulling your hair out from the stress. Incorporate a few of these daily vitamins and supplements and put yourself first, to help optimize your health and wellbeing.
- Swaminathan S, Thomas T, Kurpad AV. B-vitamin interventions for women and children in low-income populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 May;18(3):295-306. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000166. PMID: 25807352.
- Ford, Talitha C et al. “The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial.” Nutrients vol. 10,12 1860. 1 Dec. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10121860
- Patel, Deepa P et al. “A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss.” Skin appendage disorders vol. 3,3 (2017): 166-169. doi:10.1159/000462981
- Davinelli, Sergio et al. “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review.” Nutrients vol. 10,4 522. 22 Apr. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10040522
- Sampalis F, Bunea R, Pelland MF, Kowalski O, Duguet N, Dupuis S. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea. Altern Med Rev. 2003 May;8(2):171-9. PMID: 12777162.
- Yonkers, Kimberly Ann et al. “Premenstrual syndrome.” Lancet (London, England) vol. 371,9619 (2008): 1200-10. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60527-9
- Vaghef-Mehrabany E, Homayouni-Rad A, Alipour B, Sharif SK, Vaghef-Mehrabany L, Alipour-Ajiry S. Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on Oxidative Stress Indices in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 May-Jun;35(4):291-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.959208. Epub 2015 Apr 9. PMID: 25856220.
- Hewlings, Susan J, and Douglas S Kalman. “Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,10 92. 22 Oct. 2017, doi:10.3390/foods6100092
- Funk JL, Oyarzo JN, Frye JB, Chen G, Lantz RC, Jolad SD, Sólyom AM, Timmermann BN. Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis. J Nat Prod. 2006 Mar;69(3):351-5. doi: 10.1021/np050327j. PMID: 16562833; PMCID: PMC2533857.