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7 Important Supplements for Women
February 05, 2016
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7 Important Supplements for Women

It’s not enough to slather on sunscreen, moisturizer and the latest anti-wrinkle cream in the quest for a more youthful look.

You need protection on the inside too.

Check out these seven super nutrients that every woman should consider.

1. Calcium: The Bone Builder

Calcium is an essential mineral found in high amounts in milk and other dairy products as well as fortified foods.

Typically, a little more than 1% of a women’s body weight is calcium, which certainly helps us understand why we consider it so important.

Why is calcium important?

Almost all your body’s calcium is found in your bones and teeth.

And since women are four times more susceptible to osteoporosis than men, getting enough is essential for lifelong bone health.

The remaining percentage is critical because calcium plays a role in heart and muscle action, blood clotting and normal cell function.

Who needs it?

All adult women, especially the following:

Teens or young women, because as much as 90% of adult bone mass is achieved by the age of 18.

Peak bone mass usually occurs in the late 20s.

Women older than 30, because they typically lose bone mass and strength.

Menopausal and postmenopausal women, because bone loss tends to accelerate as the body produces less estrogen.

How much should you take?

Women ages 50 and younger should consider a daily calcium supplement of at least 500 milligrams and eat calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheeses and other dairy foods and fortified products.

If you are older than 50, consider taking a daily supplement of 800-1,000 mg in addition to eating calcium-rich foods.

And if you take more than 1,000 mg daily, split the dosage and take half in the morning and half in the evening to ensure maximum absorption.

Calcium citrate may be a better choice if you don’t produce a lot of stomach acid.

This is often the case for some women as they get older as well as women taking medications that reduce stomach acid production to treat ulcers.

If you have a history of kidney disorders or are taking diuretics or other medications daily, talk to your physician before taking a calcium supplement.

2. Fish Oil: Heart Healthy

Fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are a rich source of omega-3s, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

These highly specialized fats can’t be made in our body, and because many women don’t eat enough fish, (they may not like the flavor or may fear heavy metals or contaminants) they don’t get nearly enough of these amazing nutrients.

Why is fish oil important?

Omega-3s are important for heart and blood vessel health and for reducing circulating triglycerides to lower heart disease risk.

These special fats also support healthy joints, reduce inflammation and optimize brain operations.

Some research has tied poor omega-3 intake to moodiness and depression.

Who needs it?

All adult women, especially the following:

Women who don’t eat fish several times a week.

Women at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (especially those who have elevated triglycerides).

Pregnant and nursing women to enhance brain development of their baby.

Overweight women with joint tenderness.

How much should you take?

One gram of EPA and DHA daily helps most women, but those with elevated triglycerides and who are under a physician’s guidance can consider 2-3 grams of fish oil daily with a diet low in alcohol consumption and fatty foods.

Pregnant women should consider a fish oil supplement containing 1 gram of DHA for the development of their baby’s brain.

Talk to your physician before taking fish oil supplements if you're pregnant, have a history of bleeding disorders or are taking any medications, including blood thinners and blood pressure drugs, as well as any other supplements.

Avoid the supplements if you are allergic to fish.

Take omega-3 supplements with food for better absorption and tolerance.

To avoid “fish burps,” look for specially processed fish oil supplements that reduce this unpleasant side effect.

Only take fish oil supplements certified to be very low in heavy metals, contaminants and research products.

3. Folate: Think Green

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin.

Its name is derived from foliage, as folate is richest in food sources such as leaves (spinach, asparagus) and fruits (cantaloupe).

Why is folate important?

You need folate to look healthy.

Our cells need it to make DNA, and without DNA, cells wouldn’t function properly.

Nor would they make new cells and tissue, such as skin and hair.

During pregnancy, especially the first couple of weeks when women often don’t know they are pregnant, folate is critical in preventing neural tube abnormalities in the fetus, such as spina bifida.

It’s also involved in supporting normal levels of homocysteine in the blood, a controversial heart risk factor.

Who needs it?

All adult women should consider taking a folate supplement, especially during child-bearing years.

Pregnant women should take a prenatal supplement containing folate.

How much should you take?

Healthy, non-pregnant women should look for a multivitamin supplement providing 400 micrograms daily.

Pregnant women should take a prenatal supplement with 400-800 micrograms of folate.

Talk to your obstetrician or gynecologist about taking folate along with other key supplements that can support a baby’s development.

4. B Vitamins: The Energizers

The B vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5) pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12) and biotin.

These are water-soluble essential nutrients found in many foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in meat, fish and milk.

Many foods are also fortified with B vitamins.

Why are B vitamins important?

An active woman can burn more than 2,000 calories a day.

And B vitamins are essential for producing the energy necessary to meet the demands of everyday life, whether you’re going to the gym, doing laundry, showering or giving a presentation at work.

Vitamins B6 and B12 reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease by helping to keep homocysteine levels low.

High levels of the naturally occurring amino acid raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke and blood clots.

Biotin has long been recognized for its vital role in healthy hair.

Although vitamin B6 is often associated with reduced PMS symptoms, unfortunately, researchers have (as yet) failed to prove this connection.

Who needs it?

All adult women, especially the following:

Women who exercise regularly and break a sweat because burning more calories daily can increase a woman’s need for these nutrients.

Women older than 50 should take a vitamin B12 supplement because age makes it harder to absorb this nutrient from food.

How much should you take?

Besides a well-balanced diet containing lean meats, whole grains and fruits and vegetables, a multivitamin supplement should provide at least 50%-100% Daily Value of B vitamins.

5. Coenzyme Q10: Age Gracefully

Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient found in a variety of foods, including meats and fish.

Why is coenzyme Q10 important?

It’s a powerful antioxidant as well as a key component in helping fuel the production of energy within cells.

This nutrient also helps protect against premature aging and supports a healthy heart and blood vessels.

Who needs it?

All women, especially the following:

Women at greater risk of developing heart disease and cancer and those being treated for these diseases. (Talk to your physician first.)

Strict vegetarians because the best sources of CoQ10 are meats and fish (although soybean and canola oils are also good sources).

How much should you take?

Usual dosages are 30-100 mg daily.

If you’re taking more than 100 mg daily, split the amount into two or more servings to promote better absorption.

Take CoQ10 with meals for better absorption.

Also, look for oil-based CoQ10 soft gel caps.

6. Vitamin D: Down to the Bone

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be made in our bodies when exposed to sunlight.

It’s also found in vitamin D-fortified foods such as milk.

Why is vitamin D important?

It helps our bodies absorb calcium from our diet and supplements we may take.

Vitamin D also plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones.

And researchers are beginning to find that good vitamin D levels are important for general health and the prevention of certain diseases, including osteoporosis.

Who needs it?

All women, especially the following:

Women who do not regularly drink milk or eat dairy foods fortified with vitamin D.

Women who don’t receive much direct exposure to sunlight.

Women over 50 years old because age makes the body less efficient at processing vitamin D.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, so they can promote healthy development of the baby.

How much should you take?

Pre-menopausal women should take at least 500 IU of vitamin D a day. (Note 1 microgram equals 40 IU.)

Postmenopausal and elderly women should increase their dosage to 800 IU per day.

Don’t exceed 2,000 IU from food and supplements daily.

Vitamin D is available in two forms, D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).

Choose a vitamin D supplement that includes calcium, or choose a multivitamin supplement that includes both.

7. Lutein: See the Light

Lutein is part of a fat-soluble class of nutrients call carotenoids.

It's found in dark-green leafy vegetables (such as spinach) as well as in various fruits, corn and egg yolks.

Why is lutein important?

Lutein is an antioxidant that concentrates in the eyes to help protect them against free radical destruction and resulting age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), a leading cause of blindness in older women.

Lutein is found in breast and cervical tissue and seems to support general health of those tissues.

It's also found in the skin and may help protect against the sun’s damaging light.

Who needs it?

All women, especially the following:

Women with a family history of age-related macular degeneration.

Women who are exposed to direct sunlight and pollutants regularly.

How much should you take?

A lutein supplement should include 6 mg to 10 mg of the antioxidant.

Take lutein supplements with food for more efficient absorption.

Unfortunately, that's all the time we have today.

We wish you and your family the very best in health and happiness this new year of 2016!

J.R. and I truly hope this information helps, and you found some value in this edition!

Until next time, we want you to,

live longer, live younger!

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