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What supplements, if any, one should take are affected not only by diet, but by one’s desired health outcome. Supplements, as the name implies, are just that -- a supplement to one’s diet. The ability of a woman at age 40 to achieve ideal nutrient intake from food alone is difficult for most in practice and is influenced by food choices, calorie intake and activity. The more active one is, the more calories they can eat, and the easier it is to get the nutrients needed for optimal health. Still, getting what one needs is a challenge.
A 1995 study in the JADA tasked 43 dietitians with meeting government recommendations using up to 2400 calories (exceeding the 2000 calorie levels on which the recommendations were based). All of the dieticians failed at the task, showing just how difficult it can be meet nutrient recommendations from food alone.
The results of many nutrition surveys, including the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), show women falling short on calcium, iron, zinc, folate and vitamins A and D. The intake of most B vitamins are suboptimal as well. One should always try to address nutrition through food first. Adding low-fat milk or other dairy products can increase calcium and vitamin D (in fortified milk). Orange juice can often be found fortified with these nutrients as well (the acidity increases calcium absorption). Bread, baked goods and grains/cereals have been fortified with folate in an attempt to increase its intake. Brightly colored fruits and vegetable provide a variety of nutrients, especially anti-oxidants. Sadly though, most Americans fall short on implementing these dietary recommendations.
Simply put, if you do not eat it, then you better find another way to get it. For many, the daily use of a properly formulated multiple vitamin and mineral formula will cover the bases and make up for common insufficient or suboptimal intakes. For exercisers who fail to get adequate fruit and vegetable intake (5-7 servings/day), the use of an antioxidant supplement may be helpful as well. dotFIT addresses these needs with the following formulas:
- Women’s MV - for non-exercising women.
- Active MV - for active, exercising women up to age 65
- Superior Antioxidant - designed to complement our MV formulas
There is a difference between the recommended intake (or Recommended Daily Allowance) for vitamins for women in their 40s and what women should "take."
The US Institute of Medicine and Health Canada have set the following Recommended Daily Allowances for vitamins for women aged 31-50 years:
- Biotin: 30 micrograms
- Choline: 425 mg
- Folate: 400 micrograms
- Niacin: 14 mg
- Pantothenic Acid: 5 mg
- Riboflavin (B2): 1.1mg
- Thiamin (B1): 1.1mg
- B6: 1.3mg
- B12: 2.4mg
- Vitamin A: 700 micrograms
- Vitamin C: 75mg
- Vitamin D: 5 micrograms
- Vitamin E: 15mg
- Vitamin K: 90 micrograms
However, given the fact that many foods in North America are fortified with vitamins, and given the current dietary habits of North American women, very few women will require vitamin supplements to make up for shortfalls in their diet, with the notable exception of folate.
So unless your diet tends to be low in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and meats, or unless your doctor has specifically recommended a vitamin supplement, you most likely do not need to worry about your vitamin intake.
That said, the vitamin levels in most multivitamin supplements are not high enough to pose a threat to your health. Always consult with your doctor, or a dietitian prior to taking a supplement to see what's best for you.
Below is our general health recommendation for all adult women up to age 50 years who are not trying to conceive, not pregnant or lactating.
- Women’s multivitamin and mineral formula (proper gender, age or activity specific with 1000 IUs of vitamin D) - Take 1 daily
- Super Calcium+ - Use if you do not meet the daily needs of calcium (~1000-1200 mgs) and vitamin D (1000 IU) from sunlight, multivitamin and food intake; kids should always try to achieve requirements through diet.
- Super Omega-3 - Take 1 daily if not consuming 2-4 svgs/wk of fatty fish
Typical use of the ideal MVM for women:
- For use by women 13-50 years of age
- Non-pregnant females not trying to conceive
- One tablet per day before or after main meal with a favorite beverage
Once a woman hits her 40s and she starts to approach menopause her body and nutrition needs begin to change. As estrogen levels decrease she may start to see less padding in her hips and thighs and more belly fat. That decline in estrogen also affects bone health, making calcium critical. What's more decreased stomach acid also makes it harder to absorb calcium from foods. This doesn't just affect bone health but can also increase hormonal swings related to PMS as well.
For women in their 40s calcium (and vitamin D to help absorb calcium) are more important than ever. You can get your daily 1,000mg dose of calcium from 3 servings of dairy. But if that's not your thing, a supplement in 2 divided doses of 500 mg apiece will also work. Because vitamin D is difficult to get from foods, consider a supplement of between 600 and 1,000IU.
Women over 40 need to increase their supplement intake to make up for common deficiencies such as low vitamin D. The body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium and protect against bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
You're at greater risk for low vitamin D if you have dark skin, regularly wear high SPF sunscreen, or live in a northern climate. To get enough vitamin D from the sun, you need about 15 to 20 minutes of daily exposure, which is not always possible.
Other recommended supplements include calcium-magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and a good multivitamin.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.