Ultimate Guide To Nutritional Sufficiency & Best Multi-Vitamins For Women
For about 2 years, my mother who is 56 years old had been suffering from hip and ribs pain. She attributed it to strenuous household chores. She used to be moody and irritable at times too. We thought it was because of the pain and age and even though she consulted a few doctors for the pain and underwent physiotherapy, she never completely got rid of the pain.
Finally, upon recommendation of a family friend, we went to a reputed orthopedist. He did some basic x-rays and a host of blood test. The x-ray came out fine. Not even a sign of osteoporosis despite the age. But when the blood test results came out, we were in for a surprise. Her Vitamin D levels were grossly insufficient. The cause for her pain, irritability and mood swings came out crystal clear. It is just vitamin D deficiency. As the levels were too low, exposure to sunlight simply wasn’t enough. She had to take supplements every week and doctor recommended to walk in the early morning sunlight for at least 30 minutes every day. Needless to say, her troubles vanished pretty quickly. Though she gets a bit uncomfortable if she misses her daily walk, she is overall in a much healthy stage.
When I talk with new moms in the age of 25-35 years, I often hear them complain about tiredness, fatigue, mood swings etc. which they attribute to taking care of their young toddlers. But, that needn’t always be the case.
The change in a woman’s body is more pronounced than that of a man. She goes through periods, delivery, breastfeeding and endures a lot of stress and strain. Thus, it is understandable that her nutritional requirement changes with her age. This is especially true for vitamins and minerals. While they may be required in small doses but their right amount at the right time is essential for optimum health and energy.
There are primarily 13 vitamins which are considered critical for all women regardless of their age. In this write-up, we will try to touch upon the importance of nutritional sufficiency and the causes and consequences of nutritional deficiency. Finally, we would shed light on a few top vitamins required by women and some of the best multivitamin supplements that can fulfill this need.
Need for Vitamin Nutritional Sufficiency
A well-balanced diet with the adequate amount of macro as well as micronutrients is essential for all humans and especially for women as they bear children. There are mainly 27 nutrients that a female body requires for a healthy body. Of these, vitamins and minerals form a critical component.
A particular stress on nutrition for women comes from the fact that they need to think about pregnancy, baby, and bone density. Their needs for vitamins show a distinct variation through different phases of their life.
Without the nutritional sufficiency, a woman is likely to suffer grave consequences health-wise. For instance, a deficiency of Vitamin K, D and calcium after menopause might leave a woman more vulnerable to disorders like osteoporosis. Likewise, lack of adequate Vitamin A and C might affect her vision adversely. Similarly, Vitamin B group and Folic acid are essential during her pregnancy years, deficiency of which may adversely affect the fetus.
Why Women Are More Prone to Vitamin Deficiency?
Various studies have established that women are more prone to vitamin and mineral deficiency than men. The reason behind it is very simple and straightforward.
The most critical factors attributing to the higher risk of vitamin deficiency in women are menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc. (1) Moreover, dieting amongst women is a prevalent trend which inevitably leads to nutritional deficiencies. Consumption of beverages like tea, coffee, alcohol, etc. is also known to interfere with the absorption of these nutrients in females.
Nutrients Required by Women
There are certain essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that women generally need on a daily basis almost throughout their life. Let’s throw light on a few of the important ones.
Popularly called as provitamin A Carotenoids; they are converted into retinol and then used by the body. A woman needs about 750 to 1300 mcg of Vitamin Aon a daily basis.
- Benefits/uses: Vitamin A is critical for proper bone growth and sharp vision. According to some studies, it might be responsible for reducing the mortality rate arising from measles; improve immune function; prevent few cancer types and aid in overall growth and development.
- Deficiency symptoms: The most prominent symptom of it is difficulty in your visionespecially in dim light. Apart from it, you might also develop a rough, dry and patchy skin.
- Food sources: Vitamin A can be efficiently supplied to your body by eating leafy dark greenvegetables, sweet potatoes, dairy products, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like mangoes, carrots etc.; tomato and its products; fish, liver and fortified cereals.
It is a water-soluble vitamin, hence you don’t have to worry about over-supply. An average woman requires 1.1 mg per day while a pregnant and breastfeeding woman needs about 1.4 mg per day.
- Benefits/uses: It is vital for the metabolism of carbohydrates for energy. It also helps in the proper growth, development and functionality of cells. The vitamin is also used for the proper functioning of the heart, nerve and muscles.
- Deficiency symptoms: Its apparent deficiency symptoms are weight loss, anorexia, weak muscles, cardiovascular symptoms like enlarged heartand mental problems like confusion or short-term memory loss. Its severe deficiency causes Beriberi disease which causes issues with peripheral nerves and wasting.
- Food sources: Some of its best sources are beans, sunflower seeds, rice, peas, asparagus, lentils, barley, oats, cereal grains, lettuce, etc. What you must remember is that this vitamin gets destroyed with overcooking and cannot be stored in the body.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Again, a water-soluble vitamin; it is needed in a dosage of 1.1 mg to 1.6 mg on a daily basis varying from normal to breastfeeding woman.
- Benefits/uses: The vitamin is critical for pregnant ladies as it is vital for red blood cell production,body growth as well as energy release from proteins.
- Deficiency symptoms: The most common symptoms of this vitamin deficiency include weakness, fatigue, skin cracking, anemia, dermatitis, mood swings, soreness in throat etc.
- Food sources: Eggs, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds are some of the best sources of this vitamin.
Other B Group Vitamins
There are plenty of other B-Group vitamins referred to as B- Complex vitamins. They include Vitamin B3(Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B9 (Folate) and Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).
- Benefits/uses: These vitamins are essential for converting food to energy, forming of red blood cells, proper functioning of the nervous system, maintenance of muscle tone, healthy skin, hair and nails as well as keeping a sharp mind.
- Deficiency symptoms: You can witness a wide range of symptoms like anemia, loss of appetite, weakness and fatigue, brittle nails, abdominal pain, respiratory infections, muscle cramps, poor growth, lethargy, dry eyes, joint pain, pitting edema, tissue swelling, eczema, etc.
- Food sources: Green leafy vegetables, fish, poultry, dairy products, meat, egg, legumes, cereals, etc. are some of the best sources of this vitamin.
The vitamin is coveted for its healing and antioxidant powers. Typically, a woman needs 75 mg/day.
- Benefits: Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen protein which is used to make the skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage etc. It promotes growth and development, repairs body tissues, keeps the gums, teeth and bones healthy and helps in the destruction and elimination of free radicals from the body.
- Deficiency symptoms: Few of the vitamin C deficiency symptoms include bleeding gums, gingivitis, nose bleeds, dry and splitting hair, easy bruising and delayed healing of wounds, decreased immunity and fighting power against infection, etc. Its severe deficiency causes scurvy.
- Food sources: Citrus fruits like lime, orange, etc.; broccoli, red pepper, parsley, and almost all fruits and vegetables are its best source.
- Vitamin DKnown as calciferol; your body can easily synthesize the vitamin under sunlight. Any woman below the age of 70 years needs at least 15mg/day while those above it, need 20 mg/day.
- Benefits/uses: The vitamin is essential for absorption of calcium primarily which is critical for bone growth and strength, neuromuscular and immune function, prevention of osteoporosis and osteopenia, reduction of body inflammation, proper functioning of neuromuscular and immune function, etc. The vitamin is also known to help prevent diabetesand colorectal or other cancer.
- Deficiency symptoms: Its deficiency is known to cause rickets, soft and deformed bones, soft teeth, retarded growth, weakened muscles, mood swings, depression etc.
- Food sources: Apart from sunlight, fortified foods, eggs, tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel and mushroom are its best sources.
- Vitamin KRequired in a minimal dosage of 90mcg/per day; this vitamin deficiency is currently hailed as the top reason of death amongst women.
- Benefits/uses: The vitamin is responsible for building and maintaining strong bones. It is also critical for blood clottingand prevention of heart disease.
- Deficiency symptoms: Anemia, tendency to bleed or hemorrhage and intestinal problems.
- Food sources: Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, parsley, asparagus, peas, beans etc., carrots, Brussels sprouts etc.
All these vitamins can be easily obtained from a well-balanced diet. However, studies suggest otherwise. You might be surprised to know that despite this, over 30 percent of women are found deficient in at least one or two of these nutrients. The risk will naturally increase with age. The deficiency can, however, be combated by taking multivitamin supplements.
Today, you can easily find a wide variety of multivitamin supplements that can easily take care of these vitamin deficiencies in any woman and help them remain healthy. Estimates have made it apparent that supplemental multivitamins play an essential role in preventing nutritional deficiencies in at least 75 percent of women(2)
Multivitamin is the safest and easiest way to get rid of all nutritional deficiencies and lead a healthy life. However, one must remember that they are just supplements and not a replacement for food. Supplements cannot match the more balanced and wholesome nutrients provided by food. Moreover, food nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body than those provided by supplements.
Who Should Take Multivitamin Supplements?
Multivitamin supplements are not meant for everybody. It is no magical pill that will give you enhanced health and energy by consuming it. However, if you are prone to dieting, eating plenty of processed food; not eating adequate amount of fruits and vegetables, etc., then the multivitamin supplements are ideal for bridging the gap of nutritional deficiency. Other ideal candidates for taking multivitamin supplements are:
- A woman on a vegan diet
- A woman in her reproductive age
- A woman hailing from a lower socio-economic class.
Top Picks of Multivitamin Supplements
Now that we have become well-versed with few aspects of multi-vitamins, let’s walk through few multivitamin supplements available in the market today that have proved their effectivity amongst women consumers and thus are high on the popularity chart.
Find latest priceWith almost no cons attached to it, the multivitamin supplement tops the popularity and effectivity chart. With an excellent combination of 12 vitamins and 18 mineralsincluding sufficient amount of selenium and ginseng; the supplement not only fights body weakness and lethargybut also aids in keeping skin and hair healthy and shining. Find latest priceIf you are looking for a scientifically formulated well-balanced multivitamin that packs enough power to keep you healthy and energetic; then this multivitamin is your solution. Getting accolades as a near complete multivitamin; it has almost all vitamins and minerals. To boost its effectivity further; it packs the powerful punch of antioxidants and omega-3salong with natural extracts of ginseng and gingko biloba to leave you super energetic and healthy for an active lifestyle. Find latest priceFlaunting a scientific and powerful formulation of 39 essential nutrients;the supplement takes the benefit of vitamins and minerals to the next level. With some caffeine and green tea extracts, it also aids in promoting healthy skin, fighting agingand loading enough antioxidants to eliminate free radicals and toxinsfrom the body. Being time released; it offers better nutrient absorption by the body than any other pills.
While it is tasty as well; it can cause side-effects if you are allergic to certain vitaminslike niacin. You might experience inflamed skin, itching etc. Thus, caution is advised. Despite the fact, the supplement’s effectivity cannot be questioned.
Find latest priceWith its reasonable pricing and a powerful combination of 55 vital nutrients and 12 performance blendsincluding amino acids, antioxidantsand herbal extracts; the supplement is ideal for the very busy active women. Increasing your stamina as well as focus; it helps you to be more agile and alert.It even improves your immunitywhich allows you to work harder without getting tired. It is ideal for women who feel too tired before completing their entire work. Find latest priceIf you have become frustrated with multivitamins that have failed to meet their promises; try out this supplement. Not only is it purity level impressive but it also ensures that you get all the vital nutrients and minerals by keeping them at 100% to 150% of the required dosing This ensures that your deficiency is genuinely covered to leave you healthy and energetic. It boasts of one of the top effective formulas available in the market today. Find latest priceWith its appreciable amount of folic acidand some extra nutrients like isoflavones; the supplement is a perfect choice for women in her reproductive years. Even though its smell might not go down well with most women; its formula is almost guaranteed to keep any woman high ion health and energy throughout the day. A mix of 40 active ingredients; it is the one-stop destination for most active women’s nutritional gap requirements.
Multivitamins can be your best friend when your healthy diet is just not proving sufficient. Their effectivity increases if you take them after consulting a doctor. Being a non-negotiable topic; your health does deserve top priority. We hope our recommendations works for you. Chime in below your suggestions and experiences!
Note- Do not consider this article as a medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you experience fatigue, tiredness or other discomfort/ symptoms for extended period in order to rule out any other medical conditions.