Three Vital Nutrients for optimal women's health
The nutritional landscape is always changing. From research to fad diets it can be hard to wade through the hype to find the science. Ensuring you have the vital nutrients you need in your diet is most simply done with supplements. They ensure a consistent supply to meet your nutrient goals. They are an easy addition to your health without cramping your lifestyle.
A practical multivitamin can help you cover the bases you need but research it also showing good results with some lesser known compounds are worth considering.
B Vitamins are a team - they work together to improve health. Some help produce serotonin to improve mental health, others work to help process fats and glucose to maximize energy and metabolism. Without a proper supply of B Vitamins women may suffer from anemia, fatigue, depression, hair loss, Eczema, and other maladies including muscle cramps and numbness in arms and legs. Research shows that as a team B vitamins can lower the risk of stroke by up to seven per cent.
The most common deficiencies for women are vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin). Supplements of these three B vitamins have been shown to help prevent osteoporosis in women.
- B6 is found in most fruit (although not citrus), potatoes as well as meats like fish and poultry. The vitamin is essential to more than 100 enzyme reactions that help metabolize amino acids as well s create red blood cells. Long-term, adding a supplement that includes vitamin B6 will help prevent anemia, depression and mental confusion.
- B9, more commonly called folic acid or folate, is essential to women - especially women who are pregnant and thinking of becoming to prevent neural tube defects in babies. Found in leafy greens, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
B12 is deficient in up to 15 percent of North American diets. Without a supplement, B12 is only found in animal products making a supplement like Garden of Life Raw B-Complex essential for vegetarians and vegans. B12 is necessary to create blood cells and keep nerve cells happy. A deficiency can lead to anemia. Symptoms to look out for include fatigue, weight loss and prolonged deficiency can result in depression and dementia.
A new term to many, phytochemicals are compounds only found in plants. Two phytochemicals women may consider supplementing are isoflavones and indoles.
Isoflavones maybe a secret weapon for perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women. It is a plant hormone that mimics estrogen but weaker than the human version. It is predominantly found in soy and other legumes. For women in all three phases of menopause, there is some research to support a supplement of Isoflavones can help prevent bone deterioration related to the hormone shift.
With a lesser efficiency, there is research to show Isoflavones, like Organika, can help reduce hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The treatment can take longer to work than traditional hormone-replacement therapy but it does provide an alternative for women.
Other phytochemicals that may fly under the radar are Indoles - particularly indole-3-carbinol. Early research is showing indoles have anticancer benefits by limiting the spread and growth of cancer cells. The strongest research so far links indoles to benefits fighting women’s cancers like breast, cervical and endometrial cancers. While found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts it can also be easily added to your diet via a supplement like Metagenics Meta I3.
If you are unsure your diet is keeping up with your nutritional needs - from busy career to picky eaters - consider a daily multivitamin. Adding a multivitamin can be another way to ensure that your body gets all the vital nutrients it needs with the ease of a one-stop solution. Pay particular attention calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin C and choose proven quality brands with a proven reputation like Metagenics PhytoMulti with Iron or Vitality SuperMulti.