Both men and women require many essential vitamins and minerals for health. While your diet should in theory provide you with all the nutrients you need, there are many reasons why it may not. Stress, poor diet, processed and convenience food, activity level, and genetics can all affect nutrient levels. In addition, variables like alcohol intake, caffeine consumption, medications and even travel can play a role. Nutritional supplements can help provide an insurance policy and fill in any nutrient gaps. But when choosing nutritional supplements, one common question is, does gender matter? The short answer is yes. Women have unique nutrient needs and unique health concerns so it makes sense that their vitamins should too. Here are some key vitamins women should pay special attention to:
Calcium keeps bones strong and helps to reduce the risk for osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the bones become weak and break easily.
Women of reproductive age are more likely than men to experience iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstruation. Iron is best absorbed when taken with vitamin C to maximize absorption.
Folate is necessary for red blood cell formation and during pregnancy. Folic acid helps to form the neural tube that will develop into your baby’s brain and spinal cord and may help reduce the risk of having a baby with a brain or spinal cord defect.
This important nutrient helps with thyroid issues which tend to be more common in women than men.
Vitamin D works with calcium to promote healthy bones and is involved in cell growth and immune function. Up to 78% of women in their childbearing years are short on vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 helps your body make red blood cells and helps your neurons (cells in your brain and nervous system) work correctly. Some women may not get enough B-12 especially if they are pregnant, vegetarian/vegan, or aged 50 or older.
Magnesium helps regulate many different chemical reactions in your body. Research shows most pregnant women are low in magnesium. Deficiencies in pregnancy are linked to problems like gestational diabetes, early delivery, and babies who are born too small.
Choline is an important nutrient that is converted into neurotransmitter acetylcholine that helps muscles contract and plays a role in brain development, including memory and thinking. Choline helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly. Many young women, especially vegetarians, don’t get enough of this nutrient from their diet.
Taking the right supplements can assist a woman’s body in doing what it does best, such as supporting the immune system, maintaining energy levels, promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails, and encouraging healthy digestion. Have questions about what supplements you should take on a daily basis? Take our supplement assessment quiz!
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