Obtaining key vitamins and minerals should always come from food first. But, acquiring all the essential vitamins and minerals from food alone, is far from realistic. Supplements are not meant to replace your nutrition but merely meant to bridge the gaps when you’re... not so perfect. Female athletes and active women require adequate nutrition for optimal health and performance. Vitamins are meant to fill the void in your nutrition, to keep you happy, healthy, and performing at your highest level. We’re going to talk about the seven best vitamins that all women should be taking.
B-Vitamins are comprised of eight complex and essential water-soluble vitamins that play pivotal roles in cellular function and energy metabolism, acting as co-enzymes in many catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions for physical activity [R]. Numerous clinical studies have also demonstrated the benefits of B-Vitamins on energy metabolism, neurological function, neural inflammation, and oxidative stress [R]. Most B-Vitamins remained stored in the body; therefore, they must be acquired from your diet through food or supplementation.
Supplementing with a B-Vitamin Complex is very beneficial for women, especially since it contains Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid (Vitamin B9). Biotin, of course, helps support healthy hair, skin, and nails similar to the benefits of Collagen [R]. Folate as well as Vitamin B12, functions as a coenzyme in the development process of DNA, red blood cell synthesis and amino-acid metabolism. Thus, B-Vitamins aid in the utilization of energy, metabolism of amino acids, maintenance of red blood cells, and regeneration of tissue [R].
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Krill Oil (Omega-3)
Omega-3s also known as essential fatty acids EFAs have a myriad of health benefits. The body requires EFAs for optimal health but cannot make these essential fatty acids on its own. EFAs are ‘essential’ meaning, these types of fats must be consumed in the diet or by a dietary supplement, such as Krill Oil. The human body requires both groups of EFAs (omega-3 and omega-6) to survive, however the typical modern-day diet, is much higher in Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3, making supplementation critical to your overall health. Without consuming foods such as avocados, walnuts, or seafood such as salmon on a regular basis, you won’t get the adequate amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that you need.
Krill Oil also contains a powerful antioxidant called Astaxanthin which has proven to help reduce the signs of aging and benefits skin health. Astaxanthin helps reduce free radical damage, which when present in excessive amounts break down the body’s tissue. In skin, free radicals from aging and exposure to ultra-violet light cause breakdowns in collagen and elastin fibers resulting in lack of elasticity and wrinkles. The high concentration of Omega 3’s in krill helps to normalize skin lipids, keeping your skin strong and hydrated, which decreases the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Studies have proven that supplementing with Krill Oil can help improve your skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, age spots, and skin texture [R]. We recommend supplementing with at least 500mg of krill oil once per day.
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Research shows that Krill Oil is proven to help with PMS symptoms. As you know, acne, upset stomach, bloating, fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea, headache, backache, food cravings, joint and muscle pain, poor concentration or memory, mood swings, anxiety, and depression are all symptoms associated with PMS.
Research shows, that due to the anti-inflammatory effects of Krill Oil many of the physical symptoms of PMS are greatly reduced or even disappear since most of these physical symptoms are directly associated with inflammation. As far as the emotional benefits, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you aren’t in pain, can’t sleep, or your complexion is on point, you’ll be in a better mood. Nevertheless, for the same reason that Omega 3’s reduce depression, they also help with mood swings during your menstrual cycle, by increasing dopamine and serotonin secretion.
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Your skin actually synthesizes Vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D regulates a host of different biological functions such as inhibition of cellular proliferation, inducing terminal differentiation, stimulating insulin production and we can’t forget Vitamin D’s most popular benefit and claim to fame, of building strong bones. Without a sufficient amount of Vitamin D, only 10–15% of dietary calcium and about 60% of phosphorus are absorbed. With abnormalities in calcium and phosphorus, bone metabolism is severely affected, resulting in a mineralization defect in the skeleton, or what is more commonly known as rickets. But Vitamin D is not just healthy for your bones. Recent research suggests, that Vitamin D may be vital in preventing a number of series long-term health problems. Several studies prove that Vitamin D can aid in decreasing the risk of heart disease, building stronger bones, helping depression and even obesity.
In a 2-year clinical trial, 383 obese women were found to have a positive correlation with increased Vitamin D concentrations, when they achieved higher weight loss. Participants, who remained at baseline, were found to have lower concentrations of Vitamin D and showed a significant Vitamin D deficiency [R]. However, despite the research that concludes Vitamin D has a direct relationship with obesity, it's important to remember that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Dr. JoAnn E. Mason Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical School, explains that "Obesity, can reduce the amount of Vitamin D in the blood because your body stores the vitamin in fat tissue, removing it from the bloodstream, where it would show up on tests. Thus, a low Vitamin D level may be a marker for other conditions, but not necessarily a direct cause of disease.
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“All roads lead back to eating your greens. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) or DIM is an ingredient found in cruciferous vegetables such a broccoli. DIM is one of the best supplements for women, specifically for hormone regulation and PMS because it helps rid the body of toxins and therefore assist with hormone balance”, says Dr. Genevive Gyulavary.
“A supplement is just that, something to supplement your diet with. In addition to supplementation, you can balance your hormones with changes in diet by including more microgreens such as bok choy, cabbage, kohlrabi, and kale. Cruciferous veggies are extremely nutritionally dense and are extremely beneficial for women with thyroid issues as the thyroid is the master regulator of all thing’s hormones”
DIM blocks an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Then, it converts ‘bad’ estrogen into ‘good’ estrogen. Good estrogen is associated with low body fat, more muscle, higher quality collagen in skin and joints, healthy bone density, and strong antioxidants protecting the body from free radicals. Bad estrogen is associated with PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, water retention, and low sex drive [R].
An enzyme called aromatase, which we all have, converts a portion of our testosterone into estrogen. DIM naturally inhibits aromatase so more testosterone is freely available in our system. Not only does increased testosterone allow us to hold onto more muscle mass, but there is also less aromatase available and therefore, less harmful estrogen metabolites leading to fewer PMS symptoms [R]. Testosterone, believe it or not, is the most active female hormone in the body. Thus, making DIM one of the best nutrients or vitamins for women.
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Magnesium can work but calming the nervous system and “normalize hormones” mainly progesterone. It has been found to relax smooth muscle in the uterus and reduce prostaglandins that cause period pain. Magnesium also promotes healthy estrogen clearance by supporting the CMOT enzyme. You can get magnesium naturally from green leafy veggies, chocolate, and nuts. However, if you suffer from chronic stress and inadequate sleep magnesium can become depleted so supplementation may be indicated. Zinc in combination with magnesium has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics and can aid in reducing cramping and pain. In a 2007 study participants consuming 31 mg of zinc per day had a decrease in PMS symptoms. Studies suggest that taking zinc one to three times per day prior to menses can help significantly with cramps.
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Turmeric has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest known herbal remedies for holistic medicine in human history. Recent studies have indicated that Turmeric, specifically it’s active component curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and promotes joint health and mobility.
One of the main benefits of Turmeric, primarily curcumin is found in its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and reducing inflammation. Research has shown that curcumin is a highly active molecule that modulates the inflammatory response by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines
It is well understood that pro-inflammatory states or chronic inflammation can lead to disease and illness, such as cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis [R]. By proactively supplementing Turmeric, you can help reduce chronic inflammation, thus prophylactically protecting yourself from chronic illness and disease.
In addition to chronic inflammation, several studies have been initiated to define Turmeric's unique role and mechanism of action on arthritic pain, specifically joint inflammation and mobility by reducing joint swelling. In vivo animal studies, have shown that curcuminoids contribute to anti-arthritic effects, helping to reduce joint swelling and inflammation, up to 48% [R,R]
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The Best Vitamins For Women: Takeaway
Many women decide to take a vitamin or supplement to help nutritional deficiency. However, it is imperative to ensure you’re getting the vital nutrients you need from your diet in addition to supplementation. Furthermore, it’s important to determine what your specific health and wellness goals are before you decide on taking a vitamin. For example, if you want thicker, stronger hair, then supplementing a B-complex which contains biotin might be a good option. Or if you want to help normalize hormone levels, DIM and ZMT would be what you need.
Looking for the vital and key nutrients you need to optimize your daily diet?
Swolverine's ZMT® delivers vital and key nutrients such as Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6 designed to help you get the deep quality sleep you've been missing, to live bigger and live better. ZMT® also includes essential natural testosterone boosting ingredients, Diindolylmethane (DIM), Fenugreek, Rhodiola Rosea, and Tongkat Ali, which supports increased strength, promotes a positive mindset, reduces stress, and helps maintain a healthy sex drive
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Patel, Deepa P et al. “A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss.” Skin appendage disorders vol. 3,3 (2017): 166-169. doi:10.1159/000462981
Woolf, Kathleen et al. “Nutrition Assessment of B-Vitamins in Highly Active and Sedentary Women.” Nutrients vol. 9,4 329. 26 Mar. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9040329
Milart, Paweł et al. “Selected vitamins and quality of life in menopausal women.” Przeglad menopauzalny = Menopause review vol. 17,4 (2018): 175-179. doi:10.5114/pm.2018.81742
Swaminathan S, Thomas T, Kurpad AV. B-vitamin interventions for women and children in low-income populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015;18(3):295-306.
Vanlint, Simon. “Vitamin D and Obesity.” Nutrients3 (2013): 949–956. PMC. Web. 24 Apr. 2018.