Ladies, Take Note of These Health-Boosting Vitamins for You - Tamang Alaga
No matter what age, there are vitamins and nutrients that are vital for a woman’s optimal health - learn more about them here.

Ladies, Take Note of These Health-Boosting Vitamins for You

Women play many roles at home, work, or school, so they need all the nutrients they can get to stay happy, healthy, and strong. 

If you’re a woman, ensure your health is at its peak by following a nutrient-rich diet. To help enhance your healthy diet, ask your doctor and/or nutritionist about high-quality supplements that can further support your nutritional needs

Learn more about why these vitamins and minerals are usually recommended for better women’s health, and how much of them you should be taking daily.

#1: Calcium

Calcium is essential for the formation, maintenance, and strengthening of your bones, and helps reduce your osteoporosis risk. It’s also needed for the proper functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves.

How Much Do Women Need?

The recommended daily amount (RDA), ideally from calcium-rich foods and/or supplements, varies according to age and health status:

  • Women 50 years old and below: 1000 mg 
  • Women above 50 years old: 1,200 mg  
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 1,000 to 1,300 mg

How To Take

If you plan to take calcium supplements, make sure your body has enough levels of vitamin D and magnesium, so it’s able to use this mineral effectively. 

It’s best to take calcium in lower doses (e.g. 500mg at a time instead of 1000mg) to facilitate absorption from the digestive tract, with doses spaced throughout the day (e.g. with meals) to reach the total RDA.

Are There Side Effects or Contraindications?

You may experience side effects like gas, constipation, and/or bloating after taking calcium supplements, although instances of these are quite few. However, talk to your doctor if you’re taking any form of blood pressure medicine, antibiotic, synthetic thyroid hormone, calcium channel blocker, and bisphosphonates. Calcium supplements may interact with these

#2: Vitamin D

While Vitamin D is most known for its role in calcium absorption and promotion of healthy bones and teeth, it has many other important functions in the body such as modulation of the immune system and reduction of inflammation, improvement of brain function and moods, and regulation of glucose metabolism.

How Much Do Women Need?

People aged 1 to 70 years old are urged to get 600 IU of vitamin D daily. This number increases for people over 70 years old, who are recommended to take 800 IU of vitamin D.  However, a person who has Vitamin D deficiency will need higher doses to increase their Vitamin D levels to normal levels. If you are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency, especially if you do not get adequate sunlight exposure, it would be good to check your Vitamin D levels to ensure that you are not deficient (Levels below 30 ng/ml are considered deficient).

The best source of Vitamin D is the Vitamin D that our skin makes when it is exposed to direct sunlight. However, if you cannot get enough sunlight, for example during the rainy season, Vitamin D can also come from food sources like sardines, tuna, salmon, and egg yolk, as well as Vitamin D supplements like those mentioned above. With 800 IU of Vitamin D, these can help prevent and/or address a vitamin D deficiency. To enhance absorption, take your Vitamin D supplements with food (it needs fat to be absorbed). This is best taken orally once a day with a glass of water, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Are There Side Effects or Contraindications?

It’s important that you take only the needed amounts of Vitamin D. Excessive supplementation may lead to Vitamin D toxicity that causes alarmingly high calcium levels. You may also experience weakness, dry mouth, nausea, and/or vomiting. 

#3: Vitamin B Complex

This refers to a group of eight B vitamins that are widely present in our diet in both animal and plant foods. While each individual B-vitamin has its unique functions in the body, most of them usually work together in some way, like a team that can’t function when one of its members is missing. Some of Vitamin B complex’s main benefits include helping lower infection risk, encourage proper nerve function, promote better brain function and heart health, and raise your energy levels.

In pregnant and breastfeeding women, Vitamin B complex helps develop the baby’s brain, lower risk of birth defects and preeclampsia, improve energy levels, and relieve nausea.

How Much Do Women Need?

This would really depend on the B vitamin. For women, the recommended daily amounts are:

  • Vitamin B1 and B2: 1.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3 or dietary equivalents: 14 mg
  • Vitamin B5: 5 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 1.5 mg
  • Vitamin B7: 30 mcg
  • Vitamin B9 or dietary equivalents: 400 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 2.4 mcg

However, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may need to increase the amounts of specific B-vitamins. Talk to your doctor for more information.   

Are There Side Effects or Contraindications?

Be careful when taking vitamin B complex supplements because, although unlikely, there is still a risk for overdose. Common side effects include nausea, excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and blurry vision. If you take too much B-complex and experience these severe side effects, seek medical attention immediately.

#4: Iron

Iron is crucial in the production of healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body, and in the energy production in all cells. It is involved in the production of the connective tissues in our body, skin, hair and nails, as well as some of the neurotransmitters in our brain. Iron also has a role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

How Much Do Women Need?

The ideal daily requirement for iron depends on your age. For women aged 19 to 50, they require 18 mg of iron. For women 51 years old and above, this amount is reduced to 8 mg. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have higher recommended amounts at 27 mg.

Getting enough iron daily is important as a woman’s iron stores are significantly reduced during her monthly period. When you’re pregnant, additional iron is needed for your baby so it can make its own blood supply too. 

Without enough iron, a woman can develop iron deficiency anemia. This may cause dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, and/or low energy or fatigue. In pregnant women, iron deficiency anemia also leads to a higher risk for premature birth, postpartum depression, and low birth weight among babies.

Ensure that your body has enough iron stores and prevent deficiencies by eating more iron-rich food and taking an iron supplement to provide what the body needs to make healthy red blood cells..

Are There Contraindications or Side Effects?

Talk to your doctor before taking any iron supplement. Some side effects include nausea, stomach pain or irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, dark-colored stool, and constipation. It may be wise to start with a low dose of iron first and gradually raise it to the recommended amount. It’s best to take the iron after a meal in order to decrease the chance of side effects, and also to increase its absorption (you need stomach acid to absorb iron).

You can consult your doctor or health professional to know more about the other vitamins and nutrients you need as a woman. Take note that factors such as your age and lifestyle will influence the ideal daily doses you’ll need. Until then, make sure your body is in optimal condition with these important nutrients.