Three Effective Supplement Pairings for Women
Women are unique and dynamic, with nutritional requirements that change throughout their life. Multitasking can be an excellent strategy for supporting women’s health!
March 8th celebrates International Women’s Day – a day to reflect upon the unique contributions and achievements of women around the globe. Since this commemorative day was first marked over 100 years ago, we’ve seen great leaps in advocacy for women’s equality, rights, and specific concerns – including women’s health.
Issues surrounding women’s health are receiving more attention than ever before, and women are empowering themselves by taking action to protect their health – collectively and individually. Women are unique, and like, children, the elderly, and men have unique nutritional needs, with increased requirements for certain nutrients to support their bodies and lifestyles.
It has been remarked that women are excellent at multitasking – a strategy that can also be applied to a natural health regimen. Pairing certain supplements together increase their absorption and efficacy. Here are some natural health dynamic duos that work in harmony to support women’s health.
POWER COUPLE #1: Iron + Vitamin C
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies around the world and persists in Canada. Many women of child-bearing age suffer from chronically low iron (Iron Deficiency Anemia) due to menstrual cycles. Iron is essential for red blood cells to assist in the transportation of oxygen through bodily systems. Iron also plays an important role in the immune system and energy production.
Vitamin C also supports your immune function and is a source of antioxidants to protect the body from oxidative damage. It might even help shorten the duration of colds and flu – but vitamin C levels can be easily depleted by stress, a factor that looms large for women when balancing life’s many demands.
These nutrients are both vital for health, and vitamin C has been shown to increase the absorption of iron, in some cases by nearly three-fold! Taking iron 30 minutes before a meal with a vitamin C supplement, or with a food or beverage naturally high in vitamin C, enhances iron’s absorption by the digestive tract.
Also, avoid taking iron with calcium or magnesium, minerals that compete for the same absorption enzyme in the intestines. If you’re supplementing with both, take them at separate times of the day.
POWER COUPLE #2: Omega-3s + Vitamin D
Strong bones, great vision and a sharp mind are all desirable traits, and markers of robust health!
Omega-3s from marine sources have been shown to support cognitive health and vision and also assists in reducing inflammation. Vitamin D, which is produced in the skin in response to sunlight exposure, is crucial for absorbing calcium from the digestive tract and helping to build strong bones, which is of particular importance for females. According to Statistics Canada, women in Canada are five times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis than men, especially later in life.
Unfortunately, our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own, so we need to make sure we are getting enough through supplements or the food that we eat. In addition, fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D are actually dissolved in our bodies using fats which is why taking them with an omega-3 will make them more effective.
POWER COUPLE #3: Prebiotics + Probiotics
Gut health is top of mind for many Canadians these days, with probiotics offering benefits specific to women. Research has shown that taking a balanced probiotic helps to support gut health.
The term “probiotic” refers specifically to the live bacteria in a particular food or supplement, which, when taken, provide a health benefit. “Prebiotic,” on the other hand, refers to the food that bacteria consume — dietary fibre and soluble fibre in particular. Most Canadians do not consume the recommended intake of dietary fibre each day. Women are recommended to have 25 grams of fibre per day while men should have 38 grams. Inulin, obtained from the chicory root, is one of the more common prebiotic fibre supplements that support gut health.
Providing probiotics and prebiotic fibre at the same time, whether from your diet or as a supplement, helps to ensure the good gut bacteria have what they need to thrive when they colonize in the colon.
It’s important to consider that the needs of women’s bodies change throughout life: puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause each require appropriate nutrition and should always be discussed with your health care practitioner.
Visit your local CHFA Member health food store for the best selection and guidance in choosing the right supplements for your lifestyle, life phase and health goals.
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