When asked about supplements, my go to answer is that food should always comes first. And that’s because what you eat has such a profound effect on your health.
And really, there is no such thing as a miracle pill. It is so super important to aim to get all your nutrients from your food.
However, there are times when a little extra support from supplements is required. And when used correctly – that is exactly what they do.
They “supplement” a well-balanced diet.
And I do believe that all women over 40 could all do with a little help daily. And that’s because modern life means that food quality is not always as good as it could be, and you may not always eat as well as you should.
In addition, your ability to digest and absorb nutrients from food does tend to reduce as you age.
And of course, as hormones start to fluctuate and decline during your peri and menopause, your requirement for certain nutrients increases. And so, it is important to provide your hormones with all the support which they need.
Below I have listed the supplements which I believe are helpful to all women over 40 and the reasons why!
As you transition towards and through the Menopause, it is important that you are not deficient in certain vitamin and minerals. A good quality multi vitamin, designed specifically for women over 40 and then 50 etc will ensure that you optimise your health. It helps to ensure that nothing is left to chance, and you are giving your hormones the nutrients they need to work well.
Look for ones that contains antioxidants like zinc, selenium, vitamin E and A to protect your heart.
Also, calcium, boron, magnesium and D3 are important for bone health as the risk of osteoporosis increases as you age.
And not forgetting all the B vitamins which are essential for energy, mood, brain function and your hormone function.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 is known as an “essential” fatty acid. This means that your body cannot make it and so you need to get it from food and supplements.
It is essential for lubricating your joints and skin. It helps to balance your hormones, protect your nerve cells, and keep your arteries supple. And it is also a fundamental part of every cell in your body.
A typical western diet is too high in omega 6 and too low in omega 3. And this means that many people will be deficient in this important essential fatty acid.
If you are not consistently eating oily fish three times a week, then this is a supplement you should consider. Make sure that you choose one that has high levels of both EPA and DHA. Do invest in a good quality brand here as some are known to have been contaminated with heavy metals or gone rancid.
Although a good quality multi will contain vitamin C, this is one that you should supplement separately too as there won’t be enough in the multi. You can’t store vitamin C and you can’t make it in your body. It is also depleted through stress.
Vitamin C is a great anti-ageing antioxidant, and it supports your immune system. It is also required to produce collagen which is vital for your bone health.
This is a biggie when it comes to women over 40. And that is for two reasons:
It has a role in over 300 different functions in your body and it is the one mineral that we are often deficient in.
It is depleted by stress.
Soil quality is not as rich as it used to be.
We sweat it out during exercise.
There is not as much as there used to be in our water.
Magnesium can help with so many different areas of your health:
It can help with stress by calming your nervous system.
Magnesium has a role in energy production and feeling exhausted is very common for menopausal women.
In addition, it also relaxes your muscles which can help with sleep.
And it is also required to make some of your hormones.
And it helps to control blood sugar levels which results in less mood swings, better weight loss and increased energy throughout the day.
So, for me, magnesium is a no brainer when it comes to supporting women through the peri and menopausal years.
This is the vitamin which supports healthy bones, the immune system and provides protection against diabetes and heart disease.
You produce vitamin D3 yourself when your skin is exposed to sunlight. And it is therefore an important vitamin to take during the winter months. But make sure you choose one with K2 to ensure that calcium gets to the right place in your body.
Before taking Vitamin D3, do check your levels. You can do this via your GP, or you can arrange a private home test kit. Once you have done this, it is easy to work out how much you need to take by using a calculator which you can find here: www.grassrootshealth.net
How do you know what supplements to choose?
If you are going to start using supplements, do your research or work with a qualified nutritionist. There are lots of “cheap” supplements on the shelves which contain lots of ingredients which your body will struggle to absorb. So, choose carefully and don’t waste your money on cheap brands which often contain very little active ingredients. Some supplements can be contraindicated if you are on medication, so do consult with a professional before taking any new supplements.
Here are some handy tips to help you choose
- Always choose supplements in their most bioavailable form. This helps with absorption.
- Avoid fillers and binders. You want to get the most active ingredient possible in the tablet/ capsule.
- Don’t buy those which are made using artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives
And of course, if you would like support in choosing the right supplements, the right form, and the right dose for you, do get in touch