Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Here are my Top 12 Supplements for Women, at Every Age! - Dr. Jody




18-30 
Hello, twenty-something ladies! This age-group may be just starting to think about health in terms of disease prevention. For the first time you have to put more thought into what you eat, how much you sleep, and exercise. The stress of school, new financial responsibilities, the thought of starting a family … life starts to catch up!

Magnesium 
Magnesium is going to be the next super star in terms of supplementation, you heard it here first! First off, magnesium deficiency is extremely common. It plays an integral role in the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, blood sugar regulation, mood support, muscle tension and SO MUCH MORE! Magnesium supplementation is well-indicated for a number of primarily women’s health concerns. Do you get regular headaches? PMS? Night time leg cramps? Do you suffer from constipation? Magnesium is for you!

B- Complex
Another group of vitamins that have more benefit that one article could address. The B vitamins are especially important for women of this age group. These women tend to have more PMS and menstrual irregularity, as well as high stress. Many women in this age group are also choosing to go vegan, or at the very least tend to eat diet low in animal protein. This can lead to low B12 levels and fatigue. A high quality B complex can address all these issues and more.

Probiotics
Probiotics go a lot further than promoting a healthy gut flora and improving digestive health. They are also vitally important for genitourinary health. When pathogenic bacteria are given free reign, women become prone to urinary tract infection, and chronic yeast infections, which then starts them on a cycle of antibiotics, only decreasing their “healthy bacteria” more.  Supplementing daily with a high quality, multi-strain probiotic can both prevent and treat these issues effectively.


Honourable mention: Protein
Our 20’s are typically a very active time, and if we are not careful we can do damage to our bodies in these younger years that can effect quality of life later on. Supplementing with a combination vegan protein, especially if you are dairy/whey intolerant, can help control blood sugar levels, increase metabolism and prevent weight gain, as well as helping to repair the body – joints and muscles - after exercise.

30-50: Mommies and More
Having a baby can take a real toll on the body. Combine that with breastfeeding, if it’s possible for you, a lack of sleep, and no time for proper eating habits and mommy-hood can have a real impact on overall health and well-being.

Multi-vitamin/Pre-natal Vitamin
In order to make sure that increase caloric and nutritional needs are being met, as well as supplementing baby, if breastfeeding, continue to take a prenatal vitamin following birth. If you are planning on having more than one babe, this also ensures you start things off with adequate stores and the body is better equipped to support you through another pregnancy.

Fish Oil
Omega 3 fatty acids DHA & EPA, found in fish oil, are important both for brain development in babe, both in utero and during infancy, as well as mood support for mom following birth. Fish oil supplementation is a no-brainer

Vitamin D
Another super star of the vitamin world, and in North America a vitamin that simply must be supplemented during the winter months! Vitamin D is now well-known for its role in supporting the immune system, as well as mood, especially important during a time in which depression is more common. New moms are often deficient in vitamin D, despite the time of year. 400 IU/day for infants and toddlers is also a must!

Honourable Mention: Adrenal and Thyroid Support
Babies grown up, but the stress of having kids, or increased work responsibilities if you don’t have children, is anything but over as we reach our 40’s! Women can do it all now, right?! Well… not without a little help! After the age of 40, our hormones inevitably start to decline, also putting more pressure on the adrenal glands (already working hard to produce cortisol, our stress hormone!). Thyroid dysfunction is also more prevalent around this time. Ashwagandha does double duty as both an adrenal and thyroid support!

50+

Menopause and the post menopausal period come with their own challenges. Nowadays, hitting 50 does not necessarily mean you are slowing down any, but don’t tell that to your body.

Menopause support
Hormones are significantly declining at this point and with that often come typical ‘menopause’ symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia and more. There are numerous plant-based menopause combinations on the market, black cohosh, dong quai, wild yam, vitex being some of the more popular and effective ingredients to look for. Melatonin, GABA, valerian and passionflower may be helpful to treat insomnia. Talk to your ND about your best options.

Calcium  (magnesium and d, too!)
When estrogen declines, we are more susceptible to bone loss (resorption). As such, we need to ensure adequate calcium intake. Menopausal/post-menopausal women should be supplementing with about 1000 mg (in divided doses) of calcium/day, on top of the calcium they are getting in their diet.  Magnesium is essential for a variety of reasons, see above, one being that it helps maintain calcium in the bone. And don’t forget vitamin D – another big player in bone health!

Vitamin K2Sticking with the theme of bone health, vitamin K2 helps to make sure that calcium is being utilized and deposited effectively in the body. In other words, vitamin K2 makes sure calcium goes to bone, as opposed to being deposited in the organs or arteries, where it can be detrimental to health.

Honourable Mention: Multi-Vitamin
For the 75+ woman, caloric intake starts to decrease with decreased activity, and often the nutritional value of what does get eaten also declines. This is another great time for a multi-vitamin!!!

A little bit about LIFESTYLE!
Women have an inherent tendency to look after others first, leaving their own needs on the back burner. It is a trait that is at once admirable and detrimental to our health. At the end of the day, we are no good to others, if we aren't taking care of ourselves. Lead by example and make your own health and well-being a priority. FIND BALANCE! Take time for YOURSELF – garden, read a book, MAKE TIME for a yoga class, meditation, a massage, or a hot bath. It is okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to be selfish at times. Appreciate yourself, and every milestone you hit. You are all beautiful women, and you deserve to be well – physically, spiritually and emotionally!

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