Women have specific nutritional requirements that can vary at different life stages such as pregnancy and the menopause. While these nutritional needs can be met by eating a healthy, balanced diet, with our 21st century lives being so busy, sometimes topping up with food supplements can offer a helping hand. So what are the best vitamins for women?
Many of the nutrients associated with women’s health contribute to the regulation of hormonal activity (vitamin B6) and the reduction of tiredness (eg B6, niacin (B3), riboflavin and vitamin B12). That’s where B vitamins play a role.
Vitamin B12 is involved in making red blood cells and normal function of the nervous system. It also helps to release the energy from the food we eat. Because you can find it in meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese and eggs (as well as some fortified breakfast cereals), vegans in particular need to ensure their intake. The daily recommended amount for women is 2.5mg.1
Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1. It works with other B vitamins to release energy from food as well as normal function of the nervous system. You can find thiamin in most foods including vegetables, eggs, fresh and dried fruit and wholegrain breads. The daily recommended amount for women is 1.1mg2.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) contributes to the maintenance of skin, vision and red blood cells as well as helping to release energy from the food we eat. Good natural sources are milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and rice and women require 1.4mg a day3.
Before conception and during pregnancy, nutrients such as folic acid and vitamin D become particularly important for women. Vitamin D contributes to maintenance of normal bones. Supplemental folic acid intake increases maternal folate status.
Government guidelines recommend women who are planning a pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day4 as folate contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy, helping guard against major birth defects (neural tube defects). To avoid confusion, folic acid is the man-made form of a B vitamin called folate; folate is the natural version found in foods such as dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
As women get older bone health can become a consideration. Loss of bone strength is partly down to the reduced level of the hormone oestrogen, which depletes following the menopause. Although it is not possible to stop the loss of bone strength, there are nutrients that can help to support the bones. Vitamin D contributes to maintenance of normal bones. Supplemental folic acid intake increases maternal folate status.
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, muscle as well as our immune system. From about late March/April to the end of September, most of us should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight on our skin.
The vitamin is made by our body under the skin in reaction to sunlight.It is also found in a small number of foods such as oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.5
Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetable, vegetable oils and cereal grains. Vitamin K that is not needed immediately by the body is stored in your liver. It is needed for blood clotting and contributes to the maintenance of normal bones. Adults need approximately 0.001mg a day of vitamin K for each kilogram of their body weight. For example, someone who weighs 65kg would need 75mcg a day6.
Vitamin C contributes to healthy bones too. Vitamin C cannot be stored in your body so you need it in your diet every day. Good sources are citrus fruits, peppers and berries. It helps to protect cells from oxidative stress (an antioxidant) and keeps them healthy as well as maintaining normal cartilage tissue. It also contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of gums, skin and teeth.
The NRV recommends that adults need 80mg a day7.
To help address specific nutritional needs throughout a woman’s life, Seven Seas offers a range of nutritional supplements developed to provide extra support when a woman needs it most.
Perfect7 is a blend of Natural Source Marine Oil with Omega-3 plus essential multivitamins and minerals. The formula can be effectively absorbed to support you from the inside as you get older.
Perfect7 Woman has been scientifically designed to support a woman’s skin, nails and hair through its inclusion of zinc that contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and nails and the use of biotin, which contributes to the maintenance of normal hair. The formula also contains magnesium, this contributes to energy yielding metabolism plus DHA contributes to normal brain function**.
The supplement also contains Vitamin B2 that contributes to maintenance of normal vision as well as EPA and DHA that contributes to the normal function of the heart†. The inclusion of vitamin B6 helps to regulate hormonal activity.
Perfect7 Prime Woman contains a boost of Omega-3 plus Collagen, with Vitamin B6 which helps regulate hormonal activity as you get into your prime.
The inclusion of EPA & DHA contribute to normal function of the heart† while DHA also contributes to maintenance of normal vision**. The supplement also incorporates iodine that contributes to the maintenance of normal skin. Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal function of the immune system and folic acid contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
** The beneficial effect of vision is obtained with a daily intake of 250 mg of DHA
† The beneficial effect for the heart is obtained with a daily intake of 250 mg DHA/EPA.