- Studies show that women are more prone to nutritional deficiencies than men.
- Depending on your diet, you may need to supplement with vitamin B, vitamin D, calcium and iron.
- Pregnant people, breastfeeding people, and people with menopause may need to add vitamins to their diet.
- Visit the Health Insider information library for more advice.
Vitamins and minerals are the essential micronutrients for survival; they help your body perform hundreds of tasks every day. Each one has a special place in your body and helps keep your body alive and working.
While a balanced diet is your favorite source of these nutrients, you may need to take medications in some cases to ensure that your needs are met. Women are actually more prone to nutritional deficiencies than men, especially when they are pregnant or breastfeeding, so they may need a greater supplement.
Depending on your age, diet habits, and some other factors, you may need to supplement your diet with B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and iron. Here’s what you need to know about these nutrients and whether or not you need to take them.
Should you take vitamins?
According to Harvard School of Medicine, vitamin and mineral products are not expected to replace a healthy, balanced diet made up of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They should only be taken in certain circumstances, for example, if you cannot meet your needs through food, or if you have elevated requirements.
“There are two ways to find out if you need to take medications: Your doctor can test your blood levels, or you can evaluate your diet and supplement the nutrients that you can’t For example, if you are following a special diet, such as a vegan diet, you may want to consider talking to a professional about the appropriate medicines to take, “says Rebecca Tonnessen, RDN, at the Department of Food Services. and Nutrition, Hospital for Special Surgery.
You may also need medication if you are a heavy drinker or have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Some symptoms can also indicate nutritional deficiencies. “There are signs that your nutrition may be non-optical including brittle nails, dry skin, and swollen gums,” says Tonnessen.
What vitamins do women prefer?
Here are some nutrients you might want, depending on your age, diet and other factors:
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 can help reduce nausea during pregnancy.
- Vitamin B9: Also known as folic acid, this nutrient prevents birth defects in babies.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin is essential for the neuron function that makes up your nervous system. Your body also needs it to make red blood cells.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for bone health because it helps your body absorb calcium. This vitamin is difficult because your skin does it when it is exposed to sunlight; but exposure to the sun is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer. Dietary stores of vitamin D are small, causing common deficiencies.
- Calcium: In addition to strong bones and teeth, calcium is also essential for muscle, zero and heart activity.
- Iron: Iron is essential for making red blood cells that help your body carry oxygen. Menstruating people are especially prone to iron deficiencies due to loss of circulating blood.
Trying to figure out what supplements can be taken can be difficult, so breaking down by age can help. Here are some support materials you may need:
- In your 20s: “Calcium and vitamin D are essential at this age to prevent future osteoporosis. You need 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day,” says Tonnessen. She also recommends considering folate and vitamin B12 supplementation if you are on birth control.
- In your 30s and 40s: “If you can’t eat five or six servings of fruits and vegetables a day, consider a multivitamin to get the best for you,” says Tonnessen.
- In your 50s and above: “Post-menopausal women have increased nutritional needs. Your calcium requirement increases to 1,200 milligrams per day and vitamin D requirement increases to 800 to 1,000 IU per day,” says Tonnessen. You may also need vitamin B12 products, as your body’s ability to absorb this vitamin from food decreases as you get older.
When should you take certain vitamins?
Some other features may warrant nutritional products:
- Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend an additional supplement that contains nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and DHA. DHA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is beneficial for fetal growth and neural development.
- Menopause: In addition to a higher dosage of calcium and vitamin D, you may need to take B vitamins such as B2 (riboflavin), B6, B9 (folate), and B12.
- Vegetable or vegan diet: You may need to add calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 if you stick to a vegetable or vegan diet, as these nutrients are usually found in animal products.
Vitamins and mineral fertilizers can help you meet your nutritional requirements; however, they should be taken with caution.
“Always try to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals before resorting to supplementation. Consult a healthcare professional before starting a supplement because some nutrients, such as iron, can be dangerous if taken too much. More is not always better, “says Tonnessen.