Super Supplements For Women

At any age, women can find their diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Sometimes, due to dietary choices (for example, vegans can struggle to consume adequate calcium and iron) but also because of the lack of vitamin and mineral-quality of food that is widely available. Pregnant, pre- and post-menopausal women can require additional nutrients over a temporary period. In this article, guest writer, Cat Woods talks about the key supplements that women should consider taking to boost their health.

Whole foods

The best source of nutrients

Naturally, the best source of nutrients is whole food: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats (such as those in fish, avocado and nuts). However, it is hard to be certain of absorbing enough nutrients to deter symptoms of deficiency and related illnesses. While supplements can’t replace the benefits of a healthy diet, they can provide short-term benefit in boosting metabolic processes in the body (so you feel and look at your best).

Rely on professional advice for the particular supplements for you. The key focus for women is the three Bs: bones, bellies and babies. Bone health is essential to preventing osteoarthritis. Bellies: a healthy waistline and hormonal balance prevents disease and promotes quality of life. Babies: folate is vital during pregnancy for foetal development.

Supplements are available in capsules, tablets and liquid form.  Beware that many liquid forms and “vita-gummies” contain extra sugars to enhance taste.

To find a registered dietitian within Australia, contact:

  • Dietitians Association of Australia Tel. 1800 812 942

There are many, many supplements out there, but the following vitamins are the most commonly required by women. This information is not a medical recommendation, it is to improve your knowledge and prompt you to consider whether you need extra nutrients to boost your health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Your body does not naturally produce Omega-3 Fatty Acids so it is VITAL to ensure you are consuming them either in your diet (ideally) or in supplement form. They have been proven to assist in hormone regulation, healthy heart and brain function and joint inflammation. They are commonly recommended to those with arthritis to assist in preventing pain and inflammation of the joints. omega3

If that’s not reason enough, they contribute to lush hair and skin due to their internal moisturising properties. The only supplement I recommend to EVERYONE!

Omega 3 supplements are similar to paracetamol in that they can thin the blood, which is not a risk in itself. Stick to the dosage recommendation on the product but if you do notice that you are bruising easily, it is best to consult with your doctor about whether to continue this supplement.

 

Iron

Iron is essential in the transport of oxygen through the blood stream. It regulates cell growth and turnover. Iron deficiency leads to limited oxygen delivery to cells and you may feel fatigued and incapable of sustained concentration. Decreased iron levels also weaken the immune system so your defences against disease and illness aren’t on guard!

Beware, excess intake of iron is toxic. Rely on blood tests and professional advice on this.

Calcium

Calcium is integral to strengthening bones and teeth, regulating muscle contractions and relaxation, heart functioning, blood clotting, and transmission of nervous system messages.

Calcium deficiency can weaken bones, even more so when combined with poor vitamin D and magnesium levels. Because calcium is expended in muscle functioning, athletes are at extra risk of being calcium deficient and should also consider bone density scans.

Magnesium

vitamins Magnesium plays a major role in assisting the body to absorb calcium. Research has shown that magnesium not only reduces the mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome, but also relieves symptoms of bloating and may help prevent migraines.

Beware that magnesium can interact with antibiotics and may cause harmful side-effects in those with pre-existing kidney conditions.

Folate and B Complex Vitamins

There are eight B-group vitamins, which are essential for bodily functions such as energy production and making red blood cells. B complex vitamins are important in mood regulation – helpful in those with anxiety and depression. These water-soluble vitamins are easily destroyed when cooking or processing food. If planning a pregnancy, you should consider taking folic acid (folate) supplements to reduce the risk of conditions such as spina bifida in the baby.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in fresh fruits, berries and green vegetables. Vitamin C is important in wound healing. It is one of the most potent antioxidants, protecting and defending the body internally. It is also a role-player in producing collagen – a major factor in healthy skin! It is required to produce dopamine, adrenalin and cartinine – all vital to a healthy nervous system and energy system.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, muscles and overall health. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin. This is the best natural source of vitamin D, but UV radiation from the sun is also the main cause of skin cancer. Taking a balanced approach to sun exposure can help make sure you get enough vitamin D while minimising your skin cancer risk. Solariums should never be used to boost vitamin D as they emit dangerous levels of UV that increase the risk of skin cancer.
A blood test can show whether you are vitamin D deficient and require supplements. Some studies have shown it to be effective in assisting weight loss and alleviating symptoms of depression.

Cat Woods Cat Woods is a Melbourne-based personal trainer, BodyPump, pilates and Ballet Sculpt instructor. She loves any opportunity to combine creative work with fitness. You can speak to Cat about training via cathwoods at gmail.com and follow her at www.facebook.com/coreintegritywithcat.

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