While it’s possible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from careful food selection and a nutrient-dense diet, research shows many women still experience at least one type of nutrient deficiency, if not more. There are 13 vitamins all women need — all which are among the best vitamins for women to take — including vitamins C, A, D, E, K and the B vitamins (such as thiamine and vitamin B12), plus a number of important trace minerals and fatty acids too.
It’s believed that around 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of these vitamins and minerals, and for many women the risk only increases with age. Another scary finding? Estimates show about 75 percent of women would likely develop nutrient deficiencies if supplemental multivitamins didn’t exist.
With that in mind, what are the most important and best vitamins for women in order to prevent deficiencies and the complications that come with them? The following are the absolute best vitamins for women.
What Are the Best Vitamins for Women to Take?
According to a report published by the Population Referee Bureau, vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition in women create a vicious cycle that poses a variety of threats. “It weakens women’s ability to survive childbirth, makes them more susceptible to infections, and leaves them with fewer reserves to recover from illnesses.”
There’s also evidence that post-menopausal women are more susceptible to disorders like osteoporosis when they’re low in nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin D and calcium, and at a greater risk for losing their vision when they fall short in antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C.
Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s or 70s, here are the best vitamins for women that you should make sure to get enough of:
1. Antioxidant Vitamins (Vitamins A, C and E)
These fat-soluble antioxidants fight free radical damage, which is the underlying cause of aging and many diseases that affect the heart, eyes, skin and brain. Vitamin C not only improves immunity against colds, infections and other illnesses, but it’s also important for protecting your vision and skin from damage caused by things like UV light and environmental pollution. Make sure to consume plenty of vitamin C foods. Vitamin A and E work in similar ways to protect healthy cells and halt cell mutations, among the many other vitamin A and vitamin E benefits.
Research done by the National Eye Institute shows that a poor diet low in these vitamins is a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts in older women, and both vitamin A and E are also known to help protect skin from signs of aging and skin cancer.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be obtained from certain foods like eggs, some dairy products and certain mushrooms, but we get the overwhelming majority of our vitamin D from sun exposure. Both men and women are at high risks for vitamin D deficiencies since more people spend a large majority of their time indoors these days or wear sunscreen diligently when outdoors. Estimates range, but some research shows that up to 75 percent to 90 percent of adults in the U.S. might be deficient!
Vitamin D is important for bone/skeletal health, brain functions, preventing mood disorders and hormonal balance, since it acts very similarly to a hormone once inside the body. Your best bet to make sure you get enough is to spend 15–20 minutes outside most days of the week without sunscreen on, which allows vitamin D to be synthesized when it comes into contact with your skin.
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