Rebecca Murray is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner who specializes in Functional Medicine and Endocrinology. She is also on the Scientific Advisory Board at Designs for Health, a supplement brand we’ve trusted since it was often recommended to us by our very first nutrition editor.
We asked Murray to share her take on supplements and nutrients for women through the decades. Here’s what she had to share…
Crucial Nutrients For Women In Their 20s
A female is in the final stage of optimizing their bone density in their 20s. Their “Peak Bone Density” plays an important role in their risk for osteoporosis later in life. For this reason, I recommend women in their 20s (and in their teen years) to have an adequate intake of the nutrients important to the “building up” of bone (necessary for osteoblasts, the cells that build bone, to do their job), which include:
Calcium | At least 1,000 mg in divided doses and supplementation is especially needed if a “dairy-free” diet is needed due to lactose intolerance or food sensitivity to dairy (casein/whey). Calcium Malate is an excellent choice for optimal absorption.
Vitamin D | To keep a blood level above 60 mg/dl if decreased exposure to sunlight. Taking a product that also includes vitamin K2 is important as vitamin K2 helps to direct the calcium to the bones, and vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium. A great product with a synergistic blend of vitamins D and K is Vitamin D Supreme.
Magnesium | At least 400 mg daily (RDA), as magnesium is mostly found in leafy green vegetables which are not often consumed regularly. Magnesium glycinate complex provides magnesium in a highly bioavailable form that should not cause unfavorable gastrointestinal symptoms associated with magnesium supplementation.
Multivitamin | Many women in their 20s are on birth control pills (BCPs) which deplete important nutrients such as folate, vitamins B2, B6, B12, and E, as well as the minerals magnesium, selenium, and zinc. For this reason, I recommend DFH Complete Mult that contain these nutrients, with the most important nutrient being folate. This is because, when going off BCPs to become pregnant, “folate deficiency” is the leading cause of birth defects. Also, many women could unknowingly have a genetic mutation that does not allow them to fully convert “folic acid” to the activated form of folate called 5-MTHF. This is a highly recommended form to take in your supplements, especially if one intends to try to become pregnant.
Crucial Nutrients For Women In Their 30s
Many women are becoming pregnant and having babies in their 30s. My recommendations for this age are around optimizing the health of the fetus, in addition to taking the B vitamins with folate mentioned above before becoming pregnant.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids | The brain of the growing fetus utilizes omega-3 fatty acids for optimal brain development, so I always recommend to my female patients to take an omega-3 product such as OmegAvail™ Hi-Po. This fatty acid is also used by the adult brain so I would recommend women of all ages to take this product. These omega-3 fatty acids are found in high-quality fish oil and krill oil supplements.
Multivitamin | As in their 20s, all women in their 30s should be taking a multivitamin with an adequate amount of B vitamins or, at least, a vitamin B supplement with the 5-MTHF form of folate. Even if not contemplating a pregnancy, B vitamins are called the “stress vitamins” and women in their 30s are often stressed trying to balance careers, children, home, etc., and are under a high degree of daily stress.
Crucial Nutrients For Women In Their 40s
In our 40s, many women enter the “perimenopausal” stage and many hormones begin to decline.
Pregnenolone | I recommend taking the “master hormone” known as pregnenolone, which is a precursor to a variety of hormones including dehydroepiandrosterone (better known as DHEA), progesterone, estrogens, and testosterone. I utilize a product that delivers pregnenolone 30 mg in a “controlled-release technology” called Pregnenolone CRT, so it provides for a continuous slow release over 10-12 hours and when taken twice a day, it mimics that way pregnenolone is normally released in the body. Also, pregnenolone is found in high levels in the brain so this may also help support healthy cognition and memory.
Phytoestrogens | Also, during the perimenopausal time, there can be “fluctuations” in estrogen levels (not necessarily a decline in levels) that can cause increased warmth, “hot flashes”, night sweats, and sleep problems, just to name a few symptoms. The nutritional supplement FemGuardHF can help with modulating those fluctuations.
Crucial Nutrients For Women In Their 50s And Beyond
This is the age when I see so many women being put on statin medications to control their cholesterol levels and they do not realize that these medications deplete their bodies of critical Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and geranylgeraniol (GG), as the production of these essential nutrients in the body are also significantly reduced by statin medications in their process of decreasing cholesterol production.
CoQ10 | The good news is that they can be replaced, as they should because these nutrients provide energy to every cell in the body. Recommendations are for 100 mg to 200 mg daily (or more if a person is experiencing muscle fatigue after starting on a statin medication). CoQnol™ features this unique combination. Again, please discuss this with your doctor or healthcare provider.
Vitamin E | This is also the age when I hear many women starting to experience inflammation in their bodies. Instead of taking pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, and other pain medications, I recommend taking a special form of vitamin E called tocotrienols, which exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory effects without negative side effects. I recommend Annatto-E™ 300 once or twice a day.