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Top 5 Supplements Every Woman Should Take

Top 5 Supplements Every Woman Should Take

When it comes to getting the vitamins and minerals that we need to be at our best, there are many things working against us. The food available now is less nutrient dense than it used to be due to current farming practices and the increased use of pesticides and herbicides. On top of that, our bodies are working much harder and burning through our vitamins more quickly due to the increased pressures that come with modern day life.  And, we are just not consuming enough nutrient dense foods as we opt for more ‘convenience foods’ to help with our busy lifestyles.

Fortunately, we can call on supplements to fill in the gaps!

Taking vitamins and nutrients is an easy way to boost nutrition and optimize the functions of the body. Choosing the right ones however, can feel overwhelming with the increasing number of options on our store shelves. But don’t let that overwhelm stop you from supporting your body.

Although supplement needs are highly individual, there are a handful of supplements that can benefit most women regardless of diet, lifestyle, or age.

  1. Magnesium

    Magnesium is a wonderful calming mineral. It softens muscles (including our heart muscle) and calms our nervous system.   But did you know that it is one of the most common mineral deficiencies, affecting up to 20% of the general population?  This is likely dues to the fact that Doctors don’t test it and blood tests are not always reliable. It’s even more common in women because the birth control pill depletes magnesium levels and when stressed, you burn through it faster.   And if that’s not enough, eating processed foods depletes our bodies of minerals further. And ladies. We need magnesium to help pull calcium into our bones! Generally we get enough calcium…it’s magnesium that we need to pay more attention to.

    Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis.

    In women, some common reasons to use magnesium include:

    • Being on the pill

    • Prolonged stress and adrenal fatigue

    • Promoting restful sleep

    • Depression and anxiety

    • PMS

    • Painful period cramps

    • Migraines

    • Muscle cramps and recovery or restless legs

    • Athletic performance

    • Pregnancy & pre-eclampsia

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2. Fish Oils

It is difficult to get the required Omega-3 fatty acids in our modern day diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty layers of cold-water fish and shellfish, plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, algae oils, and fortified foods. The EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in Omega 3s are difficult to get through diet alone. Also know that there is a poor conversion rate for plant based sources of omega 3s.  And vegans, vegetarians and those who do not consume seafood have a very low intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish Oils act as powerful anti-inflammatories. This is a big and important job and so when it comes to getting these important fats, high quality supplements are key. (Fish contains mercury and toxic components so using a company that knows how to extract and test for them is key)

Fish Oils may help prevent (or reduce likelihood for):

  • Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline

  • Breast and colon cancer

  • Diabetes

  • PMS

  • Painful periods

  • Post-menopausal hot flashes

  • Depression

  • Cardiovascular health, etc.

 

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#3 Vitamin D 3 + K

Commonly called the “sunshine vitamin”, we know that sunshine may not be providing enough vitamin D. We are often indoors or covered up with clothing or sunscreen and therefore don’t absorb enough of the healing rays.

Vitamin D actually acts as a hormone in the body. It prevents osteoporosis and supports many other tissues like the brain, breast, and colon. When it comes to bone health, use one combined with vitamin K and be sure it’s liquid based and easily digested.

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to:

  • PCOS

  • Menstrual dysfunction

  • Infertility

  • Miscarriage

  • Obesity and insulin resistance

  • Breast, ovarian and colon cancer

  • Autoimmune diseases, like psoriasis and multiple sclerosis

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Infections

  • Depression

Be sure to ask for your levels to be checked at your next blood draw as it’s not a standard test. (there is a small fee that is worth every cent)

 

4. Probiotics

In recent years, research on probiotics has exploded with connections between good gut bacteria and everything from mental health to weight management. And there is emerging research suggesting that the specific strain matters in certain conditions. Know that our gut is challenged with perceived stress, low-level inflammation, the birth control pill, antibiotic use, GMO foods, poor dietary choices, chlorinated water, and the list goes on. Our gut needs support. Be careful of creative marketing out there – you’ll see on everything from granola bars to yogurt. ‘Added probiotics’ are not always the best source of probiotics.

For general women’s wellness, a multi-strain probiotic can help. If you are a doTerra lover, their PB assist is an excellent daily probiotic. (be sure to get this with your Vitamin Kit because you’ll save money) If not, Genestra Travel is great. If you have something you are actively treating, I would highly recommend working with a professional to get on the right strain.

  • Maintain and enhance the function of the gut to promote adequate digestion and reduce symptoms like bloating

  • Protect against infections like candida and bacterial vaginosis

  • Promote healthy weight management

  • Support mental health and cognitive function

  • Improve performance in athletes

  • Support pregnancy and reduce allergies in newborn

  • Help support healthy stress management

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#5 B-complex

A B complex is incredible for energy (among other things) and is a mix of 8 B-vitamins including (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, biotin (B7), vitamin B12, and folic acid. The B-vitamins work together and individually to support themajority of cellular functions in the body.

The most important roles of B-vitamins include:

  • Mitochondrial health and energy production

  • The breakdown of proteins and fats

  • Brain function and neurotransmitter synthesis, like dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, and GABA

  • Prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy (specifically folic acid)

  • Detoxification

  • Hormone Balance

  • Maintenance of hair, skin, and nail

This is hard to get through food alone because medications, the birth control pill, stress, and alcohol consumption all deplete B vitamins. Many digestive conditions interfere with their absorption as well. Thus, it should not be surprising to hear that a large percentage of the population are deficient.

For women, especially those with a history of birth control use or who are ‘stressed’ (umm…pretty much all of us?) I commonly recommend a B-complex to:

  • Support hormonal balance

  • Optimize liver function and promote detoxification

  • Support chronic stress and adrenal health

  • Balance mood

  • Enhance energy

 

We have an on-line dispensary if you are interested in setting up an account.  Need help?  Let’s chat!

 

Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Oakville

 


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