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What vitamins should a woman take every day?

Not all the elements the body needs can be obtained from food, and even if your diet is balanced, some nutrients may still be lacking. This is why there is a need to take vitamins and dietary supplements. We asked ourselves which of them are most beneficial for the female body. Women’s health expert Anna Kosenko gave us her answer. Anna Kosenko is an expert on women’s health, a methodologist at Orange Fitness Krasnodar, a certified kinesiotaping instructor and a personal trainer in the “Expert” category.Vitamin D
A normal level of vitamin D is a condition for the quality of eggs, strong immunity, prevention of infertility and obesity, and protection against osteoporosis. Women with high levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and multiple sclerosis.
An insufficient amount of vitamin D significantly increases the risk of developing malignant tumors of the breast and intestines, autoimmune diseases, insulin resistance and diabetes. Deficiency can also lead to fractures due to falls, hypertension, heart attacks and the development of autoimmune diseases. Hardware
Every month during menstruation, a woman on average loses from 200 to 300 ml of blood, which, of course, contains iron. The lack of this element critically affects a woman’s health and well-being: lack of strength, pathologies of fetal development, chronic fatigue, tachycardia, hypothyroidism, inability to lose weight, inability to exercise and live actively due to weakness and dizziness. Lack of iron in the body can lead to low hemoglobin levels in the blood or even anemia.
Before taking iron, it is important to eliminate factors that interfere with its absorption. Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid has strong antioxidant properties and plays an important role in collagen production. Taking vitamin C improves heart function and iron absorption in the small intestine, and is also a powerful immune support. In addition, vitamin C in the form of serums or as part of ointments helps get rid of facial wrinkles. Magnesium
Magnesium takes part in 350 chemical reactions occurring in the human body. This is an extremely important element in a woman’s body! The one item that should always be on your supplement list. Increased irritability, poor sleep, depression, cramps and muscle spasms, PMS, miscarriage, migraines – this is just a small list of problems associated with magnesium deficiency. Taking magnesium has a normalizing effect on the state of the higher parts of the nervous system during emotional stress, depression and neurosis. Omega-3
One of the pillars of the health of a modern woman. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce chronic inflammation, improve the elasticity of the vascular wall, affect blood viscosity and the concentration of cholesterol fractions, and therefore reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases. It is a proven fact that consuming fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids can reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 acids “clean” the walls of blood vessels from excess “bad” cholesterol, preventing the formation of “cholesterol plaques”, and also improve blood viscosity and normalize blood pressure. This is a list of the most important vitamins and minerals for women’s health. In addition to those listed, it is also worth mentioning vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B9 and calcium. All of them have exceptional benefits for the female body, however, remember! Before you start taking any medications or dietary supplements, you should get tested to check which elements are deficient, and also consult with your doctor. Did you like the article? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter using this link. According to VTsIOM, in 2021, more than a third of Russians were convinced that they did not get enough nutrients from food, so it was necessary to take vitamins. At the same time, 52% of the population drank various supplements [1]. RBC Life found out whether everyone needs to take vitamin and mineral complexes and what features the supplements have for men and women.

  1. Why is vitamin deficiency dangerous?
  2. How to determine deficiency
  3. What you need to know about vitamins
  4. How to choose

Why is vitamin deficiency dangerous?

Vitamins are a group of substances necessary for the normal functioning, growth and development of cells. They are divided into two categories:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. They accumulate in the liver, adipose tissue, muscles and are more easily absorbed if they come with dietary fats.
  • Water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all B vitamins. It is important to consume them regularly, as they are not stored in the body and are quickly eliminated. An exception is B12 (cobalamin), which can remain in the liver for many years [2].

Each vitamin has its own functions. For example, vitamin A is needed for the effective functioning of the immune system and the development of mucous membranes [3]. B12 is for the formation of DNA and red blood cells (red blood cells that carry oxygen), and it also plays an important role in the functioning and development of the brain and nerve cells [4]. Vitamin C helps protect and keep cells healthy and promotes wound healing.

There are certain periods in life when a person needs more of a particular vitamin. For example, with age, the body absorbs vitamin D and B12 less well. Pregnant women or those planning pregnancy have an urgent need for folic acid. People on certain diets (such as vegans or those with dairy allergies) are sometimes deficient in vitamin B12 and calcium.

The ability to absorb vitamins can also be affected by an unbalanced diet, unfavorable climate (especially lack of sunlight), various diseases (intestinal, liver, autoimmune) and even alcohol addiction.

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As you age, your body is less able to absorb certain vitamins.

When there is a lack of certain vitamins in the body, hypovitaminosis occurs. In case of acute deficiency – vitamin deficiency. In any case, it can affect a person’s health and affect their quality of life.

How to determine vitamin deficiency

Signs of vitamin deficiency typically appear when a person has low levels of a particular vitamin for several months. Common symptoms include fatigue and weakness, dry skin and hair, and poor wound healing.

  • Deficiency of vitamin D, any of the B vitamins, or vitamin C can cause permanent drowsiness and lethargy.
  • Vitamin D helps strengthen bones and muscles, so if you lack it, you may experience fatigue, weakness and lack of energy.
  • Vitamin C and all B vitamins (except B9) are involved in energy production – their deficiency can worsen metabolism и general health[5].
  • Folic acid (B9) deficiency can cause anemia, lead to fatigue and weakness [6].

Experts believe that most signs of vitamin deficiency (decreased immunity, appetite, mood) are difficult to distinguish from other diseases. To identify exactly the deficiency of any substances in the body, you first need to establish the correct diagnosis.

Only a doctor, by collecting anamnesis and based on research results, can conclude whether a person has hypovitaminosis or vitamin deficiency, or whether he needs to additionally take any supplements or vitamin complexes.

Features of vitamin-mineral complexes

Most healthy people get essential vitamins and minerals from food. However, not everyone has the opportunity to eat a varied diet, with enough fresh vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. Vitamin-mineral supplements (or multivitamins) are intended to complement, not replace, a healthy diet. They usually contain concentrated amounts of certain nutrients [7].

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Only a specialist can determine hypovitaminosis or vitamin deficiency in a person and the need to take supplements or vitamin complexes

In 2021, the most popular supplements among Russians were vitamin D/D3 (24%), vitamin complexes (17%), vitamin C (12%), B vitamins (12%) and magnesium (11%) [1] .

According to a study conducted in 2022, about 42% of people are deficient in vitamin D. The source of vitamin D is sun rays and certain types of foods (egg yolks, fatty fish). However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is difficult to get enough vitamin D naturally from food [8][9]. Research shows that vitamin D deficiency is most often associated with fatigue, and supplementation may improve this symptom [10].

However, you cannot thoughtlessly buy a vitamin and take it. It is worth considering the state of the body and the characteristics of the substance itself. For example, D is a fat-soluble vitamin (best absorbed with food), while B12 is a water-soluble vitamin (should be taken on an empty stomach). That is, supplements with D and B12 are best taken separately. The same applies to the compatibility of vitamin C and D – they should also be taken at different times.

Calcium and vitamin D provide maximum effectiveness against fractures [11], [12]. But taking large amounts of vitamin D supplements sometimes leads to hypercalcemia (too much calcium), which can weaken bones and damage the kidneys and heart [13]. It is quite difficult to combine dietary supplements and take into account the digestibility of various vitamins with each other, so many people find it easier to choose a vitamin-mineral complex.

Manufacturers claim that each additive is developed taking into account all the features for a particular category. However, in the scientific community there is no consensus on the unambiguous benefits of vitamin complexes and multivitamins.

For example, researchers have tried to answer the question of whether multivitamins help reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (one of the leading causes of death in the world). Experimental data vary. One of them showed that low-dose supplementation may help in the primary prevention of myocardial infarction [14].

A study of more than 1 million Americans found that the risk of death from heart disease and other diseases was about the same between those who took multivitamins and those who did not. But taking a multivitamin in combination with vitamins A, C and E reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 15% (compared to those who took only a multivitamin). The scientists also concluded that taking the complexes overall had a minimal effect on cancer mortality. The exception is men who smoke and take multivitamins (they had a higher mortality rate from cancer) [15].

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Vitamins should not be taken thoughtlessly – it is important to take into account the state of the body and the characteristics of the substance itself

A 2011 study found that taking a daily multivitamin in a group of 14 male physicians (age 50 and older) for ten years did not reduce heart attacks, strokes, or overall mortality [16].

However, a 2015 study found that among women (but not men), taking a multivitamin for more than three years reduced the risk of death from heart disease [17].

Scientists in all works conclude that additional research is needed.

How to choose a vitamin complex

Before taking any supplements or vitamins, discuss the following with your doctor:

  • Can this supplement help me?
  • Do I need it for health reasons or to prevent illness?
  • When and for how long should you take the supplement?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Can the supplement be taken along with medications? [18]

The vitamin and mineral complex is selected individually, based on age, general condition of the body, the area in which the person lives, his diseases, predispositions, lifestyle and bad habits.

The daily intake of vitamins and minerals for various groups of Russians can be found in the guidelines. For example, men need to consume 100 mg of vitamin C per day. This does not mean that you need to choose only those multivitamins at the pharmacy that contain exactly 100 mg of vitamin C. Firstly, you will get some of the substance from food. Secondly, you need to understand whether you have a deficit (if you have one, larger values ​​will be required). Thirdly, manufacturers combine the content of vitamins in complexes in different ways. It is important to carefully study the instructions for the supplement and understand whether a particular dietary supplement is right for you, or better yet, first consult with your doctor.

All essential vitamins and minerals of various groups are important for both men and women. It is impossible to choose a vitamin and mineral complex based only on a person’s gender.

No one can recommend taking specific medications (even supplements) without testing and the patient’s medical history. Below are some vitamins that different categories of people especially need. You can study them and ask your doctor specific questions about whether you should take such supplements or not.

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