“I am a doctor and these are the daily vitamins I recommend for women”

There are many factors involved in eating a healthy and complete diet, including vitamin intake. Our bodies rely on an array of vitamins and nutrients for everything from boosting the immune system to bone health. But it’s hard to know which ones you need. In fact, many patients ask me, “What vitamins should women take every day?”

It’s especially important for women to get the proper levels of vitamins and nutrients, particularly during times of hormonal change, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. And when our vitamin and nutrient levels are low, it can significantly affect our overall health and well-being.

Here’s a closer look at the best vitamins for women at every stage of life.

What vitamins should I take every day?

The short answer is that it depends. Different women need different vitamins throughout their lives, taking into account hormonal changes, pre-existing conditions, genetics and environment. Many of the vitamins we need are found in certain foods, and even the way we eat can significantly affect which supplements we need. But here are some of the vitamins all women need, both from food and supplements.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that occurs naturally in many different foods, so you may already be getting enough. Bright, colorful foods, such as orange and yellow bell peppers, contain carotenoids, which your body can convert into vitamin A. The vitamin also occurs naturally in fish, eggs, some dairy products, and organ meats, such as liver.

It’s a good thing that vitamin A is so easy to add to your diet or get via supplements, as this little vitamin affects many bodily systems. It is essential for maintaining and supporting correct vision and can affect reproductive health, growth and development, and the immune system.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily amount of vitamin A is 700 mcg RAE for women.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is the supplement for you if you’re looking for a little extra energy. There are several types of B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which is beneficial for overall well-being, and vitamin B12, which supports cognitive function. Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, helps form DNA and RNA and is especially important during pregnancy.

Each of these types is relatively easy to find. Vitamin B1, which helps cell growth and function, is found in fortified cereals, pork and fish, lentils, sunflower seeds and yogurt. Vitamin B2 helps break down fats and drugs and is found in dairy products, fish, chicken breast and almonds.

Next, you have vitamin B3, which converts nutrients into energy and creates DNA, cholesterol and fat. You’ll find it in red meat, brown rice, and legumes. Vitamin B5 helps with metabolic function and the breakdown of enzymes and is found in vegetables, oats and beef. Vitamin B6 is found primarily in meats, including tuna, salmon and poultry, and aids in brain development, the nervous system and the immune system.

Vitamin B7, or biotin, regulates cell signals and breaks down fats. It is typically found in salmon, eggs, avocados and nuts.

Rather than taking each of these B vitamins separately, many women find it easier to take a good B-complex vitamin that contains all types of B vitamins and enjoy a variety of B-vitamin-rich foods.

C vitamin

We all know the importance of vitamin C, especially in regards to our immune system. Vitamin C goes beyond a cold, however, and helps support the body’s ability to heal and stay healthy. Vitamin C is a type of antioxidant used to fight free radicals that develop when the body is exposed to pollutants or other irritants. Most of us associate vitamin C with citrus fruits, but it’s also found in peppers, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.

The National Institutes of Health recommends women get 75 mg of vitamin C per day and recommends getting an extra 35 mg per day if you smoke to help repair the damage caused by free radicals.

Vitamin D

For vitamin D to provide its full range of benefits, your body needs two things. To start, you’ll need vitamin D from a balanced diet. It is found in fish and fish oils such as salmon, swordfish and sardines, and in some fortified juices, milks and cereals. Also, you will need some exposure to the sun. When our skin is exposed to the sun, it can produce vitamin D, which is why it’s not uncommon for people who live in colder, darker climates to have vitamin D deficiencies.

In fact, vitamin D deficiencies can happen more easily than you might think, simply because it’s found in many foods and because seasonal weather patterns can affect our exposure to the sun. This is where supplements and vitamins come into play.

It’s especially important to get enough vitamin D, either naturally or with a supplement, because it’s a powerful and important vitamin that does a lot for your body. It has been shown to help with bone health and muscle growth, but it can also support heart health, mood and thinking.

If you reach for a supplement, the National Institutes of Health suggests adults under 70 get 600 IU a day and women over 70 should increase their dose to 800 IU, but many women benefit from higher doses. high, up to 2,000 a day.

Vitamin E

Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant, so it can help protect the body from free radicals. These electrons have essentially been set free and can contribute to everything from signs of skin aging to long-term illnesses. By fighting these free radicals, vitamin E helps keep your body healthy as you age.

Like vitamin C, vitamin E can boost the body’s immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and infections. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease and clots, especially in elderly patients and postmenopausal women.

You can boost your vitamin E levels by eating nuts, fruits, and vegetables, including pumpkins, red peppers, and avocados, as well as seed oils, such as sunflower seed oil, wheat germ oil, and soybean oil.

There are many forms of vitamin E, but according to the National Institutes for Health, the alpha-tocopherol variety is the only one retained in blood plasma. They suggest taking 15mg per day.

Vitamin K2

There are two forms of vitamin K, and opting for vitamin K2 is crucial if you aim to improve heart health and build bone strength. The nutrient drives calcium to the bones and activates calcium binding, which helps build new bone tissue and maintain existing density. This is essential for menopausal women, who experienced significantly less bone mineral density loss when supplementing with K2 in one study.

While vitamin K2 carries calcium to your bones, it also helps keep calcium out of your blood vessels, where it can lead to hardened arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease. In fact, studies show that people with the highest K2 intake were 57 percent less likely to develop arterial calcifications. Vitamin K2 also improves dental health, as it helps build dentin, the layer of tissue under the enamel.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin K2: 90mcg, according to the National Institutes of Health.

And don’t forget these extras!

In addition to these vitamins, there are other essential nutrients that women need for total health. Read on for the details.

Soccer

We very often associate calcium with bones and for good reason. Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of strong, healthy bones and teeth. This is especially important for women who are going through menopause, as menopause is often associated with osteoporosis, a condition in which bones begin to lose density. Maintaining healthy bone density is important, as it reduces the risk of serious injury as we age, and calcium supplements can do just that.

Calcium can be found in many foods, though most typically in dairy products. You can also add more calcium to your diet by eating squash, canned fish, and green leafy vegetables.

The recommended calcium intake changes as you age, the National Institutes of Health suggest supplementing with 1,000 mg for women under 50 and 1,2000 mg for those over 50

Magnesium

Magnesium is typically found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, some dairy products and fortified foods. It’s a good thing this essential nutrient is so easy to add to your diet, as it can play some important roles in your overall health and well-being!

First, a significant amount of magnesium in the body is stored in bone. This means that adequate levels of magnesium can help support strong bones, which is especially important for menopausal women. It can also help relieve migraines, which can also be common for women suffering from perimenopause and menopause symptoms.

According to the National Institutes of Health, women over the age of 30 should aim for 320 mcg of magnesium per day.

Omega 3

If you’re looking for even more cardiovascular support, you may want to get more omega-3s. These healthy fats support the heart. They’re not created naturally by the body, but are instead added through diet and supplements, which is why it’s especially important to make sure you’re getting enough from foods like fish, nuts, and edamame.

This is stated by scientists from the National Institutes of Health alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most important omega-3 and suggests taking 1.1 g of the fatty acid per day.

The bottom line

Whether you choose to get these foods from your diet, a multivitamin, or a combination of the two, you’ll find that increasing your intake will help you feel your best. I generally recommend Wellness Essentials Women, a pack of pills you take once a day (buy on Amazon). But the pills are quite large, so if you have a hard time swallowing large pills, consider Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day for my patients (buy on Amazon).

When looking for over-the-counter supplements, you may want to look for third-party verification. I like the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) and the National Sanitation Foundation’s (NSF) consumer guidance. Third-party tested supplements are vetted by companies not involved in manufacturing and selling them to ensure that the product matches what is stated on the label and is safe for consumption. These supplements will have a certification stamp on the label.

The great news is that you have tons of vitamins to choose from and many different sources for those vitamins. If you have any questions, consider speaking with a registered dietitian to find the best vitamins for your needs and start feeling strong, healthy, and protected today.

Dr. Michelle Thompson

Dr. Michelle Thompson

Michelle Thompson, MD, is a functional medicine physician and founder of Epoche Medical in Coral Springs, Florida. A geriatrics graduate, her goal is to help patients of all ages create a lifelong journey of wellness and provide the best options for healing.

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