We all need vitamins and minerals to protect our bodies from various diseases and to be healthy. Women however, need more specialized supplements because they are more prone to illnesses and diseases as a result of their physiological make up. For example, women are prone to osteoporosis, which can cause them to fracture their hips and other bones at the slightest fall. Women also can get cervical cancer or breast cancer and these of course are diseases that are isolated to women. As a result, women are required to take special supplements that will make them healthier and will help them fight off these diseases or conditions. Women need to take certain supplements which will make them stronger and help them fight off certain diseases that only they are susceptible to. What are these supplements and how can they help? Read on to know more.
- Calcium – Arguably one of the most important supplements that women need today. Earlier on, it was widely believed that only women who were menopausal or had reached a certain age like 45 needed to take calcium supplements. But today, the harried lifestyle that we lead hasn’t helped much in terms of providing the calcium needs to women from their regular diets. Processed foods have become a part of the culture and everyone knows that very little nutrition can be derived from them. This is why it has become important for women in their 20s and 30s as well to start taking calcium supplements. Be careful about what calcium supplement you take such as calcium carbonate, dolomite, or ground oyster shells, they are very poorly absorbed. Do your best to get it from natural sources like kale and broccoli.
When the calcium quotient in a woman’s life is lowered considerably, she’s prone to osteoporosis, a condition in which the skeleton is weakened and bones break easily. Women who are lesser than 50 years of age should take calcium supplements of at least 500 mg, while those who are above 50 years should take 800 to 1000 mg of calcium in a supplement. While supplements ensure that your calcium needs are met adequately, you should also try and take calcium as part of your diet also. So, make sure to include milk and milk products. When shopping for calcium supplements, make sure to look for those that are fortified with Vitamin D.
- Omega 3 – Omega 3 fatty acids are important because they can lower the risk of heart disease significantly. Ordinarily, heart disease was considered to be something that men were prone to, more than women, but all that has changed now. With changing lifestyles and increased pressure on all fronts, women today are also equally susceptible to heart problems. Omega 3 is typically found in oily fish and women who don’t eat fish that regularly are losing out on the wonderful benefits that omega 3 offers.
Regular intake of omega 3 is linked to lowered levels of triglycerides, healthier joints and reduced inflammation. In recent times, there has been research to suggest that lowered amounts of omega 3 are also connected with depression and mood swings.
Women who will benefit from omega 3 are those who do not consume fish regularly, those who have a risk of heart disease (either in the family or because of high triglycerides), pregnant and nursing women and women who are overweight and suffer from tenderness in the joints.
- Folate – Folate is often the most overlooked vitamin because it isn’t considered to be that life changing or essential. But in fact it is. Folate is soluble in water and is usually found in dark leafy plants such as spinach and asparagus. Folate is really quite important because it is required to form DNA and this is much more required in women who are of child bearing age.
Pregnant women in the early stages of their pregnancy can cause great harm to their babies if they do not take sufficient folate in the first few weeks itself. Babies can develop a condition known as spina bifida in which the spine is left unclosed at the crucial stage of their formation. Often women are not aware that they’re pregnant and this is what causes the problems. This problem can be avoided if women take folate supplements regularly even when they are not pregnant.
Hence all adult women should take folate supplements of at least 400 mcg while those who are pregnant should take 400 to 800 mcg of folate.
- Co-enzyme Q 10 – Co-enzyme Q 10 is a nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body, keeping you young and helping you have a healthy heart. This nutrient is soluble in fat and can be found usually in meat and fish. Women who don’t eat either of these are vegetarians should ideally consider taking supplements of co-enzyme Q10 because they cannot get it from their diet. Also, those women who are at risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer should take this supplement as well.
On a daily basis, at least 30 to 100mg of co-enzyme Q10 should be taken in the form of supplements. In case you’re taking more than 100mg, then split it into 2 doses so that there’s better absorption. It is also recommended to take the supplement along with meals or oil based gel capsules.
- Lutein – Lutein is an antioxidant that helps fight blindness in older women. It is also found in the breast and cervix and keeps these tissues healthy. In the skin, lutein protects from the damage inflicted by sunlight. Typically, lutein is a carotenoid which is fat soluble and can be found in corn, egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables.
Women who have a known risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMRD) should take lutein supplements. Also those who are constantly in sunlight and face pollutants regularly should also take lutein to protect their skin. Ideally, a supplement should contain 6 to 10 mg of lutein, and when it is taken with food, it is absorbed better.
These five supplements aren’t the only supplements that women should take, although these are some of the five most important supplements that should become a part of your regular lifestyle. Most women tend to take vitamins that have a combination of all the important vitamins in them and this is a good idea, although care should be taken to include these supplements also to maintain good health.