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Best Supplements to Support Women's Health|vitamin pills|fish oil|supplements and vitamins

Health & Wellness

Best Supplements to Support Women's Health

The supplement industry is big business, and there are so many companies promoting fat burners, mass gainers, sleep aids, anxiety aids, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals that it can be hard to tell what is worth buying and what is a waste of money.

Even if it could be claimed that they all work, who wants to take dozens of powders and pills every day? Supplements can be expensive, and it makes sense to look for the ones that will have the biggest impact on your health.

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Supplements for Women


There are several biological differences between men and women, and it's important to take those into account when looking for supplements. There are some nutrients that women require more than men and some that they need less of.

A lot of women's health issues center around hormones and the reproductive system, so making sure that you're getting everything that your body requires to function properly should be a priority. Let's take a look at some of the best supplements for promoting women's health.

Iron


Iron is one of the main nutrients that women need to pay much closer attention to than men. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends that women consume 18mg of iron per day—that's more than double the amount that men need. 1

The reason for this is that women lose iron when menstruating. Iron deficiencies can lead to anemia because iron is an important component of red blood cells, so women who are not getting enough iron through their diets might need to take an iron supplement. 2

Calcium


Calcium is another nutrient that women need to pay closer attention to than men because calcium supports hormone production and bone growth. 3 Osteoporosis, a condition where bones start to lose density and become weak and more likely to break, is something that women are at a greater risk of developing than men. 4 If you do not eat a lot of dairy products or other common sources of calcium, then supplementing it could be a good decision.

Magnesium


Magnesium is another nutrient that is important for bone formation and that is also used in hormone production, as well as for supporting a healthy heart. Magnesium supplementation is important for older adults in particular, and also for those who have type 2 diabetes. 5 If you do not tend to eat a lot of whole grains or green, leafy vegetables, then you should consider supplementing magnesium.

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Fish Oil


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the health of the heart, brain, and eyes. These fatty acids are particularly important because the body cannot make them, and there are only a limited number of foods that contain them.

The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish and certain seeds, such as chia and flaxseed. If your diet does not include sources of omega-3s, and you are not eating fortified foods, such as yogurts, then you should consider supplementing your diet.

Omega-3 deficiency is rare in the United States, but it is possible for a vegetarian or vegan to become deficient because they have less omega-3-containing foods to choose from. 6

Folate


Folate is important because it can help to prevent anemia. Women who are planning to get pregnant or who are pregnant should make sure that they are getting enough folate. Taking a folic acid supplement prior to conception and during the first trimester has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of birth defects. 7

Melatonin


Melatonin is well-known as a supplement for promoting sleep and improving sleep quality, but what a lot of people don't realize is that it also helps control the release of female reproductive hormones. 8 Low levels of melatonin can leave you struggling to sleep properly and could also increase your risk of breast cancer. 9

Multivitamins


The humble multivitamin is one of the most under-appreciated supplements on the market. While there are some health professionals who are detractors when it comes to multivitamins, there are many others who believe that they are worthwhile as a form of “insurance.” 10

In an ideal world, you would get all of the vitamins and minerals that you need through your diet. Of course, that is not always possible. Most individuals have fairly repetitive diets, so you may not be covering all of your bases when it comes to protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Taking a multivitamin means that we are getting a little extra of the major micronutrients, so it could help make up for a less than perfect diet.

Multivitamins will not make up for a very poor diet, however, so it is important not to get complacent, but they can provide a general nutritional boost.

Conclusion


Supplements do not work magic, but they can help improve or maintain overall wellbeing, and if you feel like there is something lacking, then they could be the answer. If you're feeling a little tired and your cardio isn't what it used to be, an iron supplement could help. If you are struggling with restless nights, cutting down on caffeine and trying melatonin could help. If you are catching lots of colds, a multivitamin may boost your immune system. If you're constantly stressed, meditation and essential oils are a good form of self-care.

Of course, if you try those things and they do not offer rapid improvement in your symptoms, then your best course of action is to ask a doctor for advice. Over-the-counter medications and supplements are not a replacement for help from a qualified doctor. They can help with common minor issues, but they are not a cure-all.

Hydration, diet, sleep, and exercise are the most important things. If you don't want to spend money on supplements, don't feel pressured to do so. If you do have some cash to spend and you feel that supplements could help improve your wellbeing because you are time-strapped or your diet isn't perfect, then give the ones listed above a go.

Photo credits: Umpaporn/shutterstock.com, 1989studio/shutterstock.com, Pat_Hastings/shutterstock.com, puhhha/shutterstock.com

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