When it comes to proper nutrition, there is no single route to ensuring your body has all the vitamins and minerals it needs to flourish. This is especially true when it comes to women because their dietary needs are slightly different. Over 30 % of all women in the US suffer from a nutritional deficiency despite having healthy diets consisting of nutrient-dense meals. Even more worrying, an estimated 75 % of all women depend on supplemental vitamins to stave off these deficiencies. A lack of commonplace vitamins such as K, E, A, D, C, and B is plaguing US women, and the threats these deficiencies pose to their health and wellbeing is significant.
The Population Report Bureau published a report that revealed the stark reality of the matter. Nutritional deficiencies have particularly ghastly effects on women as it compromises their ability to bear children and reduces their overall immunity. Supporting evidence shows that post-menopausal women are at a greater risk of osteoporosis when their vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, and calcium reserves are low. This same group of women stands a greater chance of losing their ability to see if they lack vitamin A and C.
The more women are opting for dietary supplements to stay healthy, the harder it’s becoming to know which supplements to pick. Diet experts recommend fermented supplements over synthetic ones because the former is more readily absorbed by the digestive system. For an additional nutritional boost, some vitamins come combined with ingredients comprising of superfoods such as chia seeds, camu camu, spirulina, and apple cider vinegar.
1. Vitamin K
Part of the reason why vitamin K is so important is that it aids functions in three vital parts of the body: the bones, the blood, and the heart. Vitamin K strengthens bones and is a crucial component in the blood-clotting process. However, it plays its most significant role by preventing heart disease. Research-backed findings show that people with a vitamin K deficiency are at a higher risk of suffering cardiovascular illnesses including heart attacks and arrhythmia.
Vitamin K exists in two variations, each of which come from different sources. Vitamin K1 is present in green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli, but it is also present in eggs fish and cabbage. Vitamin K2, conversely, is most commonly present in dairy products like milk, cheese, and ghee.
Taking antibiotic medication for a prolonged period of time can reduce vitamin K levels critically, and so can cholesterol-cutting drugs and intestinal illnesses like IBS. Vitamin K is best obtained from its natural sources.
Free radicals can wreak havoc to our cells, and this damage usually becomes apparent in the form of wrinkled or damaged skin. Free radical damage, however, extends deeper than the cells of the skin and is known to cause cellular degeneration even in the cells of vital body organs through a process we know as aging. It is for this reason that it is extra important to give your body enough antioxidant vitamins, specifically vitamin C, A, and E.
The National Eye Institute emphasizes the importance of each of these vitamins especially in preventing the macular degeneration that comes about as we age. Women are at a high risk of developing eyesight issues such as cataracts without the help of these vitamins.
In addition to fighting the main causes of aging, each of the three vitamins come with their own set of benefits. Vitamin C, for instance, consolidates the immune system against flu infections, protects your skin by reducing free-radical damage on your skin cells, enhances your vision, and counteracts the effects of UV rays on your skin. Vitamin A and E are known as antioxidants as well and they also improve vision. More importantly, antioxidant vitamins prevent cellular mutations that give rise to cancerous cells.
3. Vitamin D
While we can still get vitamin D from foods such as mushrooms, eggs, and a select few dairy products, the best source of this essential vitamin is still the sun. The risk of suffering from vitamin D deficiencies is higher these days because we spend almost all our time indoors. Estimates show that well over 70% of the adult population in the US could be lacking this vitamin due to limited sun exposure and constant use of sun-blocking creams.
In addition to aiding bone development, vitamin D is needed by the brain to regulate moods and prevent hormonal imbalances. The best source of vitamin D is the sun, so it is important to bask for at least 15 minutes a day to get your daily dose of vitamin D. While sunscreen is helpful when blocking harmful sun rays, it can hinder your body’s ability to form vitamin D.
4. Vitamin B and Folate
B vitamins such as B12 and folate aid in general functions such as maintaining cognitive health and reducing body fatigue. However, when it comes to body processes, these vitamins are invaluable components that are necessary for a number of important bodily functions.
B vitamins are heavily involved in various cellular processes. In addition to that, they are important in the formation of red blood cells and play a part in converting the food we consume into energy. Folate, or folic acid when it’s made synthetically, is essential during pregnancy. Developing fetuses need folate for brain and spinal cord development, so it is crucial in preventing birth defects. A folate deficiency can result in serious birth complications and post-partum birth defects that may affect the baby their entire life.
The best sources of vitamin B are animal products like eggs, dairy, and fish. This poses a problem for women who are vegetarians as the best alternative would be a dietary supplement. Nevertheless, consistently taking your supplements is enough to ensure you have sufficient vitamin B and folate levels, which are especially crucial if you’re expectant. Folate can be obtained from spinach, citrus fruits, beans, and melon fruits.
Synthetic folate (folic acid) is not as rich in nutrients as fermented folate. Be wary of vitamins with the synthetic version of the vitamin and instead, try to go for supplements with fermented folate. You’ll find that these are much safer to consume.
- Though it is possible to get your nutrition entirely from the food you eat, you are at risk of developing one of many nutritional deficiencies because some vitamins cannot be obtained properly without supplementation.
- Fermented supplements are often the best choice since they are more readily absorbable by the digestive system. While synthetic vitamins still have their benefits, women who opt for fermented supplements find that they tend to be more nutritious.
- Women are especially susceptible to some nutrient deficiencies due to the nutritional requirements of their bodies. For example, vitamin B is important because it aids in pregnancy, fetus development, and childbirth, thus expectant women are more likely to need it in larger quantities than usual.
- Post-menopausal women stand a greater risk of developing problems like osteoporosis and loss of vision if they do not keep their nutrients intake in check.
- Supplements are available in their natural fermented state, but can also be mixed with superfood ingredients for additional nutrition. Whether you opt for these types of supplements or not is entirely a matter of personal preference.