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12 Supplements All Women Should Take

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Your health is your first priority and to protect it, you must start with ensuring your body has all it needs to thrive. While a balanced diet consisting of food sources rich in essential vitamins and minerals will supply the micronutrients your body needs to function, studies1 show the standard American diet often fails to provide adequate amounts of these micronutrients. Left unchecked, deficiencies in these micronutrients can put you at risk for serious health problems. Supplements can ensure you get the recommended daily values of necessary vitamins and minerals, enabling you to maintain your current health, prevent serious disease and live your best life.

Throughout the life cycle, women experience an increased need for certain micronutrients, in excess of what most diets typically supply. For instance, in childbearing years, women require larger amounts of iron and folic acid. But once women reach the age of 50, many need more vitamin B12.

Common Health Issues Women Face

Research affirms there are numerous physical and mental health issues women commonly face over the course of their lives. Osteoporosis is diagnosed in women three times more often than it is in men. This is attributed to several factors:

  • women naturally have a lower peak bone mass
  • hormonal changes caused by menopause
  • a change in the calcium composition in a woman’s body during pregnancy, which can occur without proper diet and/or use of a calcium supplement.

Women are also prone to osteoarthritis; and from the age of 60-90, the rate of osteoarthritis diagnosis increases twentyfold.

RELATED: What Are the Best Probiotics for Women?

Stroke and heart disease have been identified as leading causes of disability and mortality in women around the world. Breast cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer in women. The risk of breast cancer escalates for women over 50 and remains high until 80 years of age.

Women face a higher risk for depression. In fact, over the course of their lives, women are prone to experience depression at a rate nearly double that of men. Women are also susceptible to anxiety.

top 10 vitamins and minerals for women infographic

Supplements for Women

The following is a list of top supplements for women that can help you stay healthy and focused and assist you as you begin or continue your fitness and wellness journey.

1. Vitamin B12

Your body needs vitamin B12 to properly develop red blood cells for both DNA synthesis and to maintain normal neurological function. Research shows that becoming deficient in vitamin B12 puts you in danger of a host of health risks including, anemia, fatigue, weight loss and neurological issues such as problems maintaining balance. Depression is another side effect that can occur as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

2. Vitamin B6

While vitamin B3 performs numerous functions in the body, it is primarily tasked with protein metabolism. Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare but studies have identified a possible correlation between diminished vitamin B6 and cognitive ability in older adults. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

3. Vitamin D supplement

Generally, vitamin D3 is thought of primarily for the part it plays in calcium metabolism as well as bone mineral metabolism. By assisting your body in absorbing calcium, vitamin D does play a roll in ensuring good bone health. In fact, studies2 acknowledge vitamin D is being given in larger doses to those at risk of osteoporotic fracture as a preventative measure. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

4. Omega-3

Omega-3 is a fish oil supplement known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers3 decided to investigate to determine if this anti-inflammatory effect is helpful when recovering from exercise. Results revealed omega-3 supplements provide relief by alleviating localized soreness caused by post workout inflammation.

Another study found a cosmetic use for omega-3 — restoring healthy skin as a treatment for allergies, dermatitis and other skin conditions4.

An image of a woman wearing overalls

5. Folic acid

If you are trying to have a baby or are of child-bearing age, it is extremely important that you get the recommended daily value of folic acid because it prevents a serious birth defect known as neural tube defect. Research confirms the defect occurs very early in the pregnancy, so if you are in this age group, experts recommend you be extra mindful of their folic acid intake.

6. Calcium

It has long been established that sufficient calcium intake is key to support healthy, strong bones. A recent study5 has provided incentive for you to make sure to get your daily recommended value of calcium, either through food or by taking a calcium supplement. Researchers found that taking calcium and vitamin D together over the long term seems to significantly reduce hip fracture risk in postmenopausal women. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

7. Magnesium

A case study6 on magnesium has found that a large percentage of women in the U.S. don’t get enough magnesium. The researcher blames this in part on poor dietary habits rampant in western culture. Your body depends on magnesium for nerve and muscle function and to maintain a healthy immune system. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with some forms of cancer. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

8. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Studies have suggested a link between taking vitamin E and a reduced risk of cataract. A correlation between using vitamin E supplements long term and slowed age-related complications after cataract surgery has also been noted. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

An image of a woman laughing

9. Curcumin

You may want to try this one next time you head to the gym or for your morning run. Scientists recently conducted a case study7 to determine the effects of curcumin on exercise endurance and performance. Researchers noted improved physical performance and heightened strength and endurance. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

10. Lutein

Although Lutein is primarily known as a preventative measure against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), recent research8 has found that using this plant-based supplement improves cognition in adults.

11. Zinc

Scientific studies confirm Zinc is essential to the immune system. When you cut yourself or scrape a knee, it is the zinc in your system that facilitates healing. The body needs zinc to ensure proper growth and development; and so it stands to reason that while pregnant, as an infant and through childhood, your body requires more zinc. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

12. L-carnitine

This supplement may be best known for its ability to aid fertility. The female reproductive system can be vulnerable, and scientific research9 confirms L-carnitine prevents free radical damage, facilitating the fertilization process. Numerous studies10 have found that L-carnitine can also improve your workout experience because it acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping you recover faster after you leave the gym. There are many types of products on the market, but some contain clinically-proven dosages.

Citations and Sources

1.
Ward E. Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements. Nutr J. 2014;13:72. [PMC]
2.
Khadilkar S. The Emerging Role of Vitamin D3 in Women’s Health. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2013;63(3):147-150. [PMC]
3.
Jouris K, McDaniel J, Weiss E. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on the Inflammatory Response to eccentric strength exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2011;10(3):432-438. [PMC]
4.
Huang T, Wang P, Yang S, Chou W, Fang J. Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin. Mar Drugs. 2018;16(8). [PubMed]
5.
Prentice R, Pettinger M, Jackson R, et al. Health risks and benefits from calcium and vitamin D supplementation: Women’s Health Initiative clinical trial and cohort study. Osteoporos Int. 2012;24(2):567-580. [PMC]
6.
Orchard T, Larson J, Alghothani N, et al. Magnesium intake, bone mineral density, and fractures: results from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;99(4):926-933. [PMC]
7.
Huang W, Chiu W, Chuang H, et al. Effect of Curcumin Supplementation on Physiological Fatigue and Physical Performance in Mice. Nutrients. 2015;7(2):905-921. [PMC]
8.
Johnson E. Role of lutein and zeaxanthin in visual and cognitive function throughout the lifespan. Nutr Rev. 2014;72(9):605-612. [PubMed]
9.
Agarwal A, Sengupta P, Durairajanayagam D. Role of L-carnitine in female infertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16:5. [PMC]
10.
Karlic H, Lohninger A. Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense? Nutrition. 2004;20(7-8):709-715. [PubMed]
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Melinda Burris Willms

Melinda Burris Willms is a professional Writer, Editor, and Marketing Consultant offering over 20 years experience in creating quality copy covering timely and intriguing subjects ranging from health, fitness and overall wellness to fine arts and culture. Melinda specializes in drawing on her expertise as an in-depth researcher and skilled interviewer to create articles, blogs and web content providing readers with information that is reliable and enlightening.
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