At any age, all women need the same supplement support in order to keep their bodies functioning at optimal levels and working hard to prevent disease. But there’s a lot of confusion about who needs how much of what, how to interpret labels and which ones interact with prescription medicines and so on. I hope to help you make smart choices and offer enough insight to help guide you to make your decision and/or pose any questions to your health practitioner.
Whether you are expecting, a breast feeding mom, vegetarian, menopausal, or you just don’t get a chance to eat well often enough, here are my supplement suggestions for increased vitality and disease prevention.
For the everyday Lioness:
I put the spotlight on fiber. We very rarely eat enough. On average women tend to eat under half of the required 25-35g per day from food sources (whole grains, oats, wheat bran etc). Fiber keeps your digestive system moving and maintains healthy blood sugar levels. Adequate fiber is also linked to reductions and risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer. Consider adding a daily high potency multivitamin and mineral as well, to make sure you are getting enough nutrients and 5 mcg/day of vitamin D and 1000 mg/day of Calcium.
For the vegan or vegetarian Lioness:
Vitamin B12 is really only found in meat, therefore plant based food sources are very low in B12. This vital vitamin is responsible for circulatory and nervous system health and can combat heart disease, stroke and cognitive degenerations (alongside the other B complex vitamins) The recommended daily allowance of B12 is 2.4 mcg/day. Vegans and vegetarians should choose fortified breakfast cereals, B12 fortified soy beverages and veggie burgers.
For the expecting Lioness:
Iron, folate (600 mcg/day) protein (70g/day) Vitamin D ( 5 mcg/day) and Calcium (1000 mg/day) are all very important, but I’d like to focus on iron because it’s iron that carries oxygen throughout the body and by the third trimester, demand for iron is high. No more than 25mg/day is recommended. Greater than 45mg/day can be toxic. Consider meat, poultry and fish as primary iron sources, and pumpkin seeds, tofu and legumes as good secondary sources. If you take an iron pill, drink it with OJ to improve absorption.
For the breastfeeding Lioness:
Vitamin D, Calcium and protein intake is the same as when you were expecting. However, folate is most important while breastfeeding and daily levels should move up to 900 mcg/day. Folate helps make red and white blood cells as well as DNA. It takes a lot of energy, fluids and nutrients to make milk and folate is definitely excreted while nursing, so I suggest that daily levels need to be tip top. Think of adding plenty of green leafy vegetables, lentils, OJ, cereal, pasta, rice and fortified breads to your diet. If you are taking a supplement, make sure it contains Vitamin B12 as excess folate can trigger a B12 deficiency.
For the menopausal Lioness:
My focus here is on Calcium, 1200 mg/day for over fifty years of age. Calcium builds and maintains strong bones and teeth. Both Calcium and Vitamin D can help prevent the progression of osteoporosis. But the most important things during menopause are physical activity and a healthy diet, as they help tremendously with symptoms of menopause. Consider ingesting more milk products as well as soybeans and firm tofu. And ensure you are also getting 10mcg/day of Vitamin D too which helps your body absorb Calcium.
Hopefully this helps you make some sense of the supplement world. I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns about a health issue that you are unsure about. I am here to help. I will even offer a complementary quick, accurate and easy health screening questionnaire for you to answer, and together we can discuss certain supplements that you personally would benefit by taking.
Stay tuned for some quick, easy and low calorie snack options! Eating healthfully on the go can’t be easier than these ideas!
Until the next time, train hard, eat smart, and be happy!