The Best Supplements for Women: 7 Nutrients You Should Take
In a perfect world, you would get all of your vitamins and minerals from your food. But the world isn't perfect, and it can be difficult to meet your needs, even if you eat a balanced diet. That’s where the best supplements for women come in.
Supplements aren’t the solution for a poor diet, but they can help you bridge the gap between eating a healthy diet and getting the nutrients you need. With so many options available, it can be difficult to tell which are the best supplements.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to “What are the best supplements for women?” For example, older women, pregnant women, and women with heavy menstrual cycles may have very specific nutritional needs. In any case, this list is a good place to start. If you have specific questions about your individual nutrient needs, check with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist.
The Best Supplements for Women
While a diet with healthy choices like fresh whole foods and kale smoothies makes a great start, supplementing with essential nutrients is often necessary.
Women are commonly deficient in the below supplements. Again, these supplements don’t take the place of a healthy diet, but they’re an excellent complement to one.
With that in mind, here are the best supplements for women.
A high-quality multivitamin covers all the micronutrient bases. Rather than one large dose of a specific vitamin, a multivitamin supplies smaller doses of all of the essential vitamins and minerals. Basically, it gives you a good nutritional foundation.
A typical multivitamin contains all of the water-soluble vitamins, which include vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as the fat-soluble vitamins — vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Some multivitamins, like the Transparent Labs Multivitamin, even have other beneficial ingredients, like ashwagandha, which can help you deal with stress , and CoQ10, which can improve your heart health .
When choosing a multivitamin, make sure you're getting a formula that’s right for you. Some multivitamins are made specifically for younger women who still have a regular menstrual cycle. These multivitamins have added iron, so you don’t need to take a separate iron supplement. Multivitamins that are formulated for older women are usually iron-free or contain significantly less iron.
It's important to choose a multivitamin that fits your nutritional needs.
Vitamin D is among the best supplements for women because it’s one of the hardest nutrients to get through food, which is probably why around 75% of Americans are vitamin D deficient .Oily fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel, liver, and egg yolks are the only really good food sources. Let's face it — these might not make it on your plate very often.
If you don’t get enough vitamin D from your diet, you may experience bone density loss, poor immune function, chronic fatigue, and even weight gain. Vitamin D is especially important for pregnant women since deficiency can increase the risk of congenital disabilities and hinder fetal bone health .
Adult women need 600 IU of vitamin D every day, but you might need more if you're deficient.
When taking a vitamin D supplement, make sure it's vitamin D3, the storage form your body converts to calcitriol (active vitamin D) as needed. Also, be sure to choose a supplement that combines vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 as these vitamins work in tandem to balance vitamin D and calcium.
Magnesium and vitamin D go hand in hand, and both are essential to women's health. Your body uses magnesium to make and activate vitamin D, while vitamin D increases the amount of magnesium you can absorb. This feed-forward loop is essential for homeostasis and overall health .
If you're taking a vitamin D supplement, you also should take a magnesium supplement. If you don't, you put yourself at a greater risk for a magnesium deficiency, which can present as anxiety, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Even if you're not taking a vitamin D supplement, magnesium is a good idea, especially if you're under a lot of stress or struggling with fatigue. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions , many of which play a role in energy production and nerve function. Magnesium also helps control your blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
An estimated 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium right now and don't even know it, but a magnesium supplement can help.
Most magnesium supplements are in the form of magnesium oxide, which your body doesn't absorb very well. But the above Transparent Labs supplement contains magnesium bisglycinate. This form of magnesium is not only more bioavailable but also doesn't trigger a laxative effect like other magnesium supplements.
Calcium is another essential mineral that works with vitamin D. You need adequate amounts of vitamin D to properly absorb calcium, which plays a role in healthy bones. As you age, you naturally start to lose bone density ; supplementing with calcium and vitamin D can help prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.
This is especially important for women, who are more likely to get osteoporosis than men. In fact, nearly four out of every five people with osteoporosis are women. Plus, one in two women over the age of 50 will likely break a bone due to osteoporosis . That's because women have smaller, thinner bones than men.
Since estrogen protects against bone loss, older women who are pre- or post-menopausal have an increased risk of osteoporosis.
You may not need an additional calcium supplement if you take a multivitamin that offers enough calcium — women need 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day . Make sure you protect your bone health by getting the minimum daily amount.
B vitamins are another class of nutrients that stress depletes. If you've been feeling tired, anxious, or just “off,” you may not be getting enough B vitamins.
In one review, researchers found taking B vitamins could decrease the physical effects of stress and help boost mood and overall well-being . B vitamins also regulate metabolism, the production of red blood cells, the immune system, and brain function.
Many people refer to B vitamins as "beauty vitamins" since they also help keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy and youthful. This is part of the reason many women taking prenatal vitamins have glowing skin and strong, beautiful nails.
There are individual B vitamin supplements, like vitamin B12, folic acid, and biotin. But since the B vitamins work synergistically, it's best to choose a vitamin B complex that includes all of the B vitamins together.
B vitamins are especially important for vegan women, as animal products are the only significant source of natural B12.
Probiotics became popular as a way to keep you regular and assist digestion. But probiotics do so much more.
With probiotics quickly proliferating in the supplement space, many inferior products are popping up. Probiotics are living bacteria, and they need to make it to your intestines alive to be effective. This is why it's crucial to get a high-quality probiotic that's been formulated with stable bacterial strains.
Look for one that contains a high CFU count and a variety of bacterial strains—having several different strains helps increase bacterial diversity in your gut.
It's also a good idea to take probiotics and prebiotics together. Prebiotics are special plant fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut and help them grow. The WellnessSeries Prebiotic Greens from Transparent Labs contain prebiotic fibers, like acacia fiber, green banana flour, and Jerusalem artichoke fiber, in addition to algae greens, like chlorella and spirulina, that offer unparalleled nutrition.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and women have the highest risk. But omega-3 fatty acids can help. According to one report, omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, can help lower the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes .
If you're not eating a lot of fatty fish, which is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, it's important to get EPA and DHA elsewhere, like a fish oil supplement.
Transparent Labs' CoreSeries Krill Oil is one of the best supplements for women because it comes from an Antarctic krill species that's rich in EPA and DHA. The fatty acids are attached to phospholipids, rather than triglycerides, so the supplement is easier on your stomach than regular fish oils. And the best part? There's no fishy aftertaste.
Choose Your Supplements Wisely
The supplement world can be murky and, when it comes to quality and efficacy, not all dietary supplements are created equally.
Many supplement brands add fillers and inferior bulking agents to their products. Sometimes, these fillers are listed in the ingredient list; other times, they're hidden under terms like "proprietary blend." If you see this, it's a warning sign — stay away from that particular supplement.
Many supplements also contain artificial sweeteners and flavors to improve their taste and appearance. But ingredients like this can do more harm than good.
Artificial sweeteners, flavors, and preservatives are connected to side effects like food allergies, food intolerances, and other health problems . Some artificial preservatives can also increase the risk of chronic diseases and even cancer.
At Transparent Labs, we believe in, well, transparency. Our entire supplement line is non-GMO and free of unnecessary additives, flavors, and artificial sweeteners. Basically, what you see is what you get. When looking for the best vitamins and supplements for women, you can count on Transparent Labs to provide some of the highest quality and cleanest options on the market.