Vitamins are essential to living a long, healthy life. Since women are more prone than men to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression, it's important to consider supplements. Women of all ages should investigate how vitamins support and balance hormones and provide the body with necessary nutrients.
Osteoporosis is a disease which affects the bones. Symptoms can begin to appear in women as young as 30 years old. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb and satisfy its need of calcium and phosphorus. Without the sufficient amount, the body turns to the bones for its necessary minerals. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, women aged 20 to 50 years old are advised to take 60 mcg; women 50 to 70 years old, 120 mcg; and over 70 years old, 180 mcg.
Vitamin B6 and B12 both help with the body’s metabolism and brain functions. Deficiency in vitamin B can often lead to confusion and depression. Women older than 50 years old have a difficult time absorbing the essential vitamin through food and are advised to take it as a supplement (2 to 3 mcg). For younger women, vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as: avocados, bananas, beans, meat, and seeds. Vitamin B12 can be found in: cheese, eggs, yogurt, and fish.
In order to sustain normal red blood cells and prevent anemia, folate is essential. It is crucial pregnant women take 400 to 500 mcg of folic acid during their pregnancy. Spinal nerve damages and still births are common effects due to the deficiency of folate.
For younger women still menstruating, and for vegetarians, anemia can be a concern. Anemia is a lack-of-iron condition. Iron deficiency leads to lack of energy. Foods like: meat, poultry, beans, eggs, and tofu all contain iron. Consuming vitamin C with iron also helps with the absorption of the mineral. Women ages 20 to 50 years old need 18 mcg a day. Older women, however, are advised to decrease their intake of iron, to 8mcg.
Vitamin E decreases age-related conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and cataracts. It is also an antioxidant that promotes healthy growth of hair, skin, and nails. Generally, women need 120 mcg of vitamin E, but a nutritionist or physician could help establish specific amounts for each individual.
Vitamin C is very important in maintaining a strong immune system. Women need 75 mcg per day. pregnant women, though, need 85 mcg, while breast-feeding women need 120 mcg. Most vitamin C can be found in fruits such as oranges, strawberries, and grapefruit.
For most healthy young women, eating a well-balanced diet with fresh foods and taking a multi-vitamin is enough for obtaining the necessary vitamins and minerals. However, women who are pregnant or who have anemia should consult with a doctor to add supplementary vitamins to their daily diet. In addition, older women may need to increase or decrease certain vitamins, based on their age.