When considering supplements, women need to think bones, babies, periods & menopause.
What it is: Iron is a mineral that is a part of numerous proteins and enzymes important for good health. In addition, as a component of red blood cells, it helps deliver oxygen to our cells.
Why it’s great for women: Intense training lowers iron levels. Studies confirm that numerous female athletes are iron deficient, which leads to a reduction in performance, increased fatigue, decreased cognitive function, and impaired immune function. Researchers recently found that in almost 200 women between the ages 18–53 who complained of fatigue.
How to take it: Because iron toxicity can occur if you are not iron deficient, you should consider asking your doctor for a serum ferritin test to measure your iron status.
Since exercise decreases iron absorption, take iron supplements several hours before exercise if you train later in the day, or several hours after exercise if you train early.
Where to find it:
Lean red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, cereals, beans, whole grains, and dark-green leafy vegetables. (If you’re not eating enough of these foods, talk to your doc about trying a ferrous sulfate supplement since it’s most easily absorbed, says nutrition expert Cynthia Sass, R.D. And don’t forget to sneak in foods rich in Vitamin C since they enhance your body’s iron absorption.)
What it is: Calcium is a mineral needed for numerous functions in the body, from bone health to muscle contraction.
Why it’s great for women: Every woman is drilled to get in plenty of calcium for healthy bones. Several studies have reported an inverse relationship between calcium intake and PMS, so the higher the calcium intake, the fewer the PMS symptoms. And it’s SUPER good for your bones of course!
How to take it: Every woman should supplement with 1,000–1,200mg of calcium per day, regardless of whether or not you suffer from PMS. Your best bet is to take at least two doses for enhanced absorption of calcium. You can take Calcium with Vit D.
Where to find it:
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, and dark-green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale.
What it is: Two essential omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
What it does: What doesn’t fish oil do? It reduces may help support overall health, and, a biggie, it also has been found to turn on genes that stimulate fat burning.
How to take it: Take 2g of fish oil three times daily, with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What it is: A blend of adequate amounts of major micronutrients.
What it does: Put simply, a multivitamin/multimineral complex fills in all the nutritional gaps in your diet. And, although we suggest you supplement separately with calcium and vitamins B, C and D, you should still take a standard multi. It may help support against the possibility of deficiencies in some of the other vitamins and minerals that can result from reduced food variety or calorie intake (read: dieting) and increased vitamin loss from exercise. Being deficient in many of these micronutrients can lead to low energy levels and restrict muscle growth, strength gains and fat loss.
How to take it: Look for a multi that provides a minimum of 100% of the daily value of C, D, E and most of the B-complex vitamins and at least 100% of zinc, copper and chromium. Take it once per day with a meal, such as breakfast.