Top Four Supplements for Women
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Whether caring for children, aging parents or those in need, we as women can spend much of our time caring for others while neglecting to care for ourselves. Amidst our busy schedules, supplementation can often find its way to the bottom of our to-do list.
Cooper Clinic Preventive Medicine Physician Carolyn M. Terry, MD, shares her insights and supplementation recommendations tailored to women.
Top recommended supplements for women
Dr. Terry advises that the best way to understand what supplements are best for use for female patients is to have a comprehensive exam and lab assessment done. Your physician can make specific recommendations for supplements and exact dosages based on your test results. The most commonly recommended supplements for female patients are a high quality multivitamin, calcium, a refined deodorized fish oil supplement such as omega-3 and a vitamin D3 supplement.
While a comprehensive multivitamin cannot replace a nutritious diet, it can help fill in common nutritional gaps that occur in an imperfect diet. A high quality multivitamin provides the appropriate daily intake of the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal organ function. Multivitamins such as Cooper Complete Basic One also contain 50 mcg (2,000 IU) of vitamin D3, which is Cooper Clinic’s baseline recommendation for optimal bone health.
Calcium is a nutrient important for the process of mineralizing bone and maintaining bone strength throughout one’s lifetime. “It is very important for women to know the recommended daily intake of calcium to keep bones healthy and strong,” said Dr. Terry. “I always tell my female patients that it is best to acquire one’s daily calcium intake from diet first.” If you are having trouble consuming an adequate amount of calcium in your diet, you might consider taking a calcium citrate supplement. Cooper Clinic recommends women 19-50 years of age should consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily while women 51 and older should aim for 1,200 mg.
Dr. Terry advises patients to avoid taking calcium or iron supplements for at least four hours after taking thyroid medication as these supplements can block the absorption of the thyroid medication.
Omega-3, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, supports overall heart and brain health by promoting a healthy heart rhythm and helping lower triglycerides. Omega-3 has been shown to help reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and joint inflammation.
“Vitamin D3 plays a vital role in calcium absorption,” says Dr. Terry. “This is why I always review the vitamin D3 levels of my female patients.” Paying attention to daily calcium intake as well as monitoring one’s vitamin D3 levels are important in preventing bone density loss commonly seen in women.
Vitamin D3 is also fundamental to a healthy immune system, aiding in fighting off infections and viruses more effectively. Dr. Terry is interested in studying the impact that vitamin D3 deficiency may play in increasing one’s risk for disease. This area of research in the medical literature is a dynamic entity. “Understanding the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in our population is a relatively recent clinical interest, with new information being published frequently,” explains Dr. Terry. “More studies are required to clarify the relationship between low level vitamin D3 and specific health conditions, but many observational medical studies suggest low level vitamin D3 may be associated with increased risk for migraine headaches, clinical depression and anxiety disorders, as well as increased risk for multiple sclerosis and colon cancer.”
While 30 ng/mL is the standard minimum recommended vitamin D level, Cooper Clinic physicians prefer to see both men and women in the 40-50 ng/mL range. If one has a history of kidney stones, the recommended level is lower, typically ranging from 30-40 ng/mL. Your vitamin D level can be measured by a simple blood test during your annual exam. Remember to always first consult with your physician before taking any new supplements. It is best to have your physician review your medical history and comprehensive lab work in order to know which supplements are best for you.
To learn more about Cooper Clinic preventive exams, click here or call 866.906.2667.