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Top 5 Important Supplements for Women

Updated on July 22, 2014
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So Many Supplements!

There are so many new supplements out there that it is easy to be confused and overwhelmed. Many people believe that they don't need supplements if they eat "healthy." I wish this were true! The way our foods have changed and how much our soil is now depleted of necessary minerals, many of us are deficient in something.

Another belief is that if people take a multi-vitamin and still have a poor dietary lifestyle, then they're okay! Taking a vitamin should not be a "band aid" for your health. It should be a "supplement" to an already existing health regimen.

Read on for more!

Yogurt is a good source of probiotics as well; however, sometimes the strands have been destroyed during the processing of the food.  In addition, yogurt can contain excessive sugar or artificial flavors.
Yogurt is a good source of probiotics as well; however, sometimes the strands have been destroyed during the processing of the food. In addition, yogurt can contain excessive sugar or artificial flavors.

1.) Probiotics

I put the PROBIOTIC at the top of the list for women.

As a nutrition consultant, the top issue I hear from other women is something related to digestion. Gas, bloating, irritable bowel, constipation, and reflux are among the few.

What is a probiotic? Probiotics are strands of good (live) bacteria that help balance your bacteria in the intestines.

There are so many to choose from, but two pointers to help you narrow down your search are:

  • Should be high in lactobacillus and bifidobacterium (in the billions)
  • Should be in a capsule (that way it gets through your stomach and to your intestines without it getting destroyed along the way)

Generally, you should expect to pay between $15-$30 a month for a decent brand of probiotics. This is a health investment! Remember, 70% of your immune system is in your gut. Keep it balanced!

And another thing: Taking a probiotic daily is highly recommended. If you've just finished a round of antibiotics, then probiotics are even MORE necessary.

What should you expect when taking probiotics?

1.) You may feel a little gassy during the first few days of taking the probiotic. This is your intestines working and using the bacteria! It is also a way to tell you that your system DID need a little help in the first place. You should expect this feeling to pass after the first week.

2.) Elimination may come easier! Many people have noticed that they can eliminate easier after being on probiotics. A healthy visit to the bathroom is always a good thing!



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2.) Digestive Enzymes

Once again, we are talking about the digestive system!

So often, our food does not get properly digested. What is the problem? Well, first it depends on the TYPE of food that we are eating. Some foods digest more easily than others. Second, there is a good chance that we are deficient in digestive enzymes!

One way to easily get digestive enzymes is through eating raw food. Yep! Raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with enzymes. However, there are a few things to consider:

  • Fruit should be thoroughly washed and/or organic in nature to avoid pesticide ingestion.
  • Fruit should also be eaten alone or before meals as it can be the last to digest properly (and it will ferment....causing gas, etc.)
  • Vegetables should be thoroughly washed and/or organic as well.
  • Vegetables that are raw are best eaten before a meal to get the enzymes into the body to help with the upcoming meal.

OR.......

We can take digestive enzymes before a meal to take the stress off of your digestive system!

Digestive enzymes are exactly that: enzymes that help break down fats (lipids), proteins, and carbohydrates. If a meal is heavily cooked, chances are that it is totally void of any enzymes.

What do I do? I take enzymes before every meal, but I also have a diet that is loaded with raw vegetables. I like to get the benefits from both!

Please note:

Vitamin D in a supplement form can be toxic if taken in levels over 5000 IU's every day for several months. This should only be done under a doctor's supervision. Once levels are raised, then most people can go down to a "maintenance dose."

3.) Vitamin D

I cannot stress enough the importance of Vitamin D!

It is found that a deficiency in Vitamin D is pretty much connected to just about every ailment and illness there is, such as:

  • Cancer (many of them)
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Depression,
  • Chronic pain

And the list can go on......

Sometimes a deficiency can show symptoms like:

  • Muscle cramps, muscle pain and/or weakness
  • Poor sleep
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty losing weight

And that list goes on too.....

Now, here's a little science:

A deficiency is considered a level below 20ng/ml.

Low Vitamin D levels are between 21-30ng/ml.

Good Vitamin D levels are between 31-50ng/ml.

Optimal Vitamin D levels are between 50-80ng/ml


Most doctors will allow you to get a Vitamin D blood test to see where you are. And guess what? The majority of us in the United States are deficient. With the use of sunscreen and lack of Vitamin D in foods, we don't get too much! You see, when I went and got my blood work in 2013, I thought that my Vitamin D level was going to be just fine. However, it turned out to be 25ng/ml, which was low. I had been taking 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day! I know too many people who don't even do that! I upped my dose to 3000 IU's and over the next year, I raised my level to 44ng/ml. Much better!

Talk to your doctor about getting the blood work! In the mean time, you can benefit from adding 1000-2000 IU's of Vitamin D to your diet.

4.) Omega 3

Omega 3's are fatty acids that your body is in great need of!

In the Western world, where a large portion of foods eaten are loaded with Omega 6 fats, we tend to be deficient in the good fats (which are the Omega 3's).

Basically speaking, Omega 3 fats promote anti-inflammation in the body. If we have issues with inflammation related diseases (arthritis is a good example), we should make sure we supply our body with plenty of Omega 3's. Omega 3's also benefit cardiovascular health as well.

Now, in supplement form, we can get Omega 3's in two ways:

  • Fish oil (which is the most common and least expensive)
  • Algae oil (which comes from algae and not fish)

With those examples, keep in mind that Fish oil can sometimes have questionable sources. So, your goal would be to look for those companies with a good reputation. In addition, remember, that some fish oils can still contain mercury or other toxic metals that come from the fish.

Algae is a vegetarian/vegan source of Omega 3, but tends to be a bit pricier.

Food sources of Omega 3's are a great addition as well:

  • Nuts (like almonds and cashews)
  • Seeds (especially flax seeds)
  • Nut and seed butters! Yum!
  • If you eat meat, some fish, like wild caught salmon contain Omega 3 fats.
  • Some vegetables contain Omega 3's too, but not in large amounts like the nuts and seeds.
  • Some foods are "fortified" with Omega 3, but you will have to look at the ingredients to see the source.

Overall, after taking Omega 3's for about 3 months daily, you should notice an improvement in your body. More specifically, joint pain and stiffness are in many cases, lessened. Follow the directions on the bottle and do not take more than the recommended amount.

Source

5.) Multivitamins

Last, but not least, we all benefit from a high quality multivitamin.

The research tends to go back and forth. Some say that it is an overall benefit for a healthy person to take a multivitamin, others say that we can get all of our vitamins in food.

Personally, my view is: no, we cannot get it all from food....UNLESS, you grow all of your food in well fertilized soil, eat this food only, and don't eat anything that is processed or from a box. AND if you are totally free from environmental toxins, never take medicine, and never get sick. If you are one of these lucky peeps, I congratulate you! But for the rest of us, a multivitamin is valuable.

What to look for:

  • Please don't settle for a multivitamin that is the cheapest on the market. This is your health we are talking about!
  • In addition, look for ingredients that don't "add" preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.
  • It should have a good mixture of B vitamins
  • It should not contain Iron
  • It should have Calcium and magnesium, even in small amounts
  • Supplements that contain organic "superfoods" or other antioxidants are an added bonus
  • Most do not contain Potassium (if it does, this should be avoided if you take blood pressure medicine)

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind, these are just a Top 5 list that I have found to be the most beneficial. There are some other supplements that many of us can benefit from as well.

Magnesium, is often overlooked as a good supplement, but it is readily available in nuts, seeds, etc. Magnesium is needed for virtually every function of the body, especially those involving the muscles and nervous system. I've found out personally that I was not getting enough magnesium by going through muscle spasms and damaged nerve pain. Once I began taking this supplement, my problems were gone.

Like Magnesium, there are other supplements out there that benefit individuals in different ways. We all have our own personal needs and it doesn't hurt to look into the natural way of taking care of our health!

Remember, buying supplements should be considered an investment. It is either spend $20 now on a bottle or spend much, much more later on down the road when poor health awaits you.

Your choice! Here's to your good health!

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This is excellent health information that I am going to put to good use!

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hello FlourishAnyway!

      I am glad you found this helpful!! There's a lot of information and so many supplements out there! Sometimes we just need it narrowed down!! Thanks for reading!!!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 2 years ago from Southeast USA

      Thanks for sharing. You have really done your research. Very well Written hub. Voted up. Enjoyable with lots of good information!!!

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      hello nancynurse! I appreciate your comments! I hope to explain in simple terms so it is not so overwhelming for people!

      Thanks for reading!

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      We most certainly need Vitamin D. I don't take a multi-vitamin, but I do take camu camu whole Vitamin C. Voted up, shared and pinned to my group natural health board.

    • thefedorows profile image

      thefedorows 2 years ago from the Midwest

      Helpful information! What are your recommended multi-vitamin and Vitamin D brands?

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi ologsinquito,

      You are right about the Vitamin D! I actually never heard of the camu camu....will have to look into that!

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi thefedorows!

      There are so many brands out there to choose from and many of them are well worth it. I personally subscribe to Life Extension and have found their supplements to be very good, both the multi and vitamin D. Natures Way is a good brand as well. GNC brands are worth looking into and there are also many "whole food" supplements that are good as well.

      Often, the multi will depend on what you are looking for exactly. I like to have a little boost in antioxidants in mine, as well as at least 1000-2000 of Vitamin D. If it has this amount of Vitamin D, then an additional supplement may not be needed (unless you have your blood levels tested, of course).

      Hope this helps! Thanks for reading!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I am happy to find out that I am taking these supplements. I hope women realize how vital it is to follow your advice on this topic.

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi teaches12345,

      Me too!! To me, it's not difficult to invest in good supplements. Thank you for reading!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Low Vitamin D levels are linked with so many diseases. New studies come out frequently, and a great many of us are low in this key nutrient. I'm back to share this hub.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      I loved this article! And so awesome you are a pro in the field. I was nodding my head as so many things you said make so much sense. My doctor told me to get a Vitamin D test but was reluctant because I live in Arizona and get so much sun, but then now I feel like I should. I do take probiotics and ever since my IBS has gotten so much better and only have 2-3 flare-ups a year when before 2-3 a month. I have one question though: is there a reason why the iron shouldn't be in a supplement? I always thought it was good for women to get iron and was just about to purchase one with iron.

    • Sam Montana profile image

      Sam Montana 2 years ago

      Great article and discussion. thefedorows: After years of searching for the best multivitamin, I found Alive for Men 50+ by Nature's Way the best for me, it actually gives me good energy throughout the day and it does not contain any type of ingredient like ginseng or other herbs that would cause alertness, just a good vitamin. The Alive for Women is the best multivitamin my wife has ever tried. The Alive multivitamin also have digestive enzymes in them and probiotics, so they cover everything in this article...they must be pretty good.

      I always take an extra vitamin D3, 2000 IU during the winter.

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi Sam, thanks for sharing this info! I will look into the Alive multivitamins!

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi alexadry, good question! The only time we should take a supplement with iron is if we are iron deficient, and this can be found out through blood tests. We tend to get enough iron in our diets from plants and animals (if we eat them). Too much iron is not a good thing, but so is too little.

    • vandynegl profile image
      Author

      vandynegl 2 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi Flourish anyway, you are right! Thanks for reading and sharing!

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