As promised this is my comprehensive list for the best supplements (in this case, multivitamins) for the ladies who are 40 and over. Please use your best judgment when considering taking any of the products mentioned in this article. As always, listen to your body and shop smart. Now, the list:
The ESSENTIAL vitamins for Women over 40
Women over 40 with a family history that includes osteoporosis, or risk factors associated with bone loss should take 340 mg of this mineral supplement daily. Clinical studies has proven that strontium has been shown to be almost twice as effective as osteoporosis medications in improving bone density without any side effects. Later studies concluded that women who had strontium supplements experienced an increase in bone mineral density in the lumbar spine by around 15 percent during a three-year period.
Ribose is usually left out of the mainstream vitamin supplement industry. It is the dark horse among nutrients. It has been known to enhance energy levels by close to 60% in three weeks. Researchers observed that close to 70% of the subjects who ingested ribose supplements exhibited mental clarity, restful sleep, less pain and more energy. Scientists have also discovered that ribose stabilizes diastolic blood pressure in patients with a family history of heart disease and arteriosclerosis.
Vitamin D3 is another recommended vitamin for women over 40 that has many benefits. A disturbing trend is that even in countries with a good amount of sunshine, people suffer from Vitamin D3 deficiencies. Research has shown that adequate levels of vitamin D3 can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of osteoporosis and even ward off depression.” It’s also worth noting that Vitamin D deficiency can cause pain in various parts of the body. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a disorder that is characterized by low Vitamin D serum levels.
Folate is one of the most important B vitamins. It has long been touted as a great cure for depression by psychiatrists and behaviorists alike. Researchers also state that birth complications prevalent in expectant post-40 mothers can be curbed by restoring healthy folate levels. Subsequent studies have shown that sufficient levels of folate have been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive degeneration associated with aging, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Popularized by various TV commercials as the go-to vitamin supplements for women over 40, calcium is one of the most important minerals. Taken along with vitamin D, its absorption increases. Just remember not to take your calcium supplements with iron or caffeine, as they are known to hinder absorption of calcium, relegating it to the gut. Although there are many calcium supplements available, you should consider leafy-green vegetables as a viable alternative.
Hydrochloric acid and pepsin are the two chief digestive juices in the stomach. As you age, HCL (hydrochloric acid) levels begin to diminish. This causes indigestion and bloating. Thus, the best way to combat this condition is to take HCL supplements. HCL has even been mooted to promote healthy-looking skin. Low HCL levels result in poor absorption of B vitamins. Recent studies conclude that in skin diseases associated with B complex deficiency, there is also a deficiency of hydrochloric acid.
Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure which is especially important for women 40-plus, who are already at risk of high blood pressure due to aging. Deficiencies in magnesium have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation. Plus, it helps the body absorb calcium and plays a role in muscle, nerve, and heart function, as well as blood glucose control. Your doctor can test your magnesium levels if you think you might be deficient (and would need a supplement). But if you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, you’re likely to get all the magnesium you need (320 mg a day for women 40 and up) from food since it’s found in dark leafy greens, beans, soy, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Too much magnesium does not necessarily pose health risks, but may cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramping.
Potassium also plays a key role in regulating blood pressure regardless of age. In postmenopausal women, research has linked higher intake of potassium from food to decreased risk of stroke—though “high” intake was considered approximately 3.1 g, which is still lower than the recommended 4.7 g per day. And the benefits were seen in those getting as little as 2 g per day. Potassium is definitely a nutrient you want to be getting enough of, but unless your MD prescribes it for another medical condition, I strongly caution against taking potassium supplements. Too much potassium can damage the gastrointestinal tract and the heart, and can cause potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Most people can get the potassium they need by eating a varied, healthy diet that includes bananas, sweet potatoes, chard, beans, and lentils. You’re highly unlikely to get enough potassium in your diet to be dangerous. If your doctor does prescribe supplements, then the doctor should carefully monitor how they affect you.
Probiotics are not technically vitamins or minerals either, but they’re important essentials for women 40 and up. Mounting evidence suggests probiotics play a role in keeping the gut healthy and weight down, and even in lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—all of which is especially important around 40 when muscle mass starts to decrease, making it easier to put on weight and develop insulin resistance. And though you can get probiotics in some dairy and fermented soy products like seitan, foods typically will not contain as many strains as a supplement—and each strain comes with its own benefit, some for helping to control weight, others for helping prevent diarrhea. Plus, because probiotics are actually live and active cultures, you won’t be able to get them from foods that are cooked or heated.
Technically not a vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids still deserve a place on this list because of their myriad health benefits, and especially because they help counteract some of the negative changes that come with aging, like increased heart disease risk and cognitive decline. Research has shown that omega-3s help lower blood pressure and LDL (“bad cholesterol levels”), reduce the risk of heart disease, and play a role in keeping memory and thinking sharp.
In fact, a recent study found that people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had larger brains and performed better on memory tests, planning activities, and abstract thinking, compared with individuals with lower levels—which suggests that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in maintaining brain health in addition to the other known benefits.
Lastly, though you can get omega-3s from foods like fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and leafy vegetables, taking a supplement is a good way to make sure you’re getting enough. Either way, aim for 500 mg if you’re healthy, 800 to 1,000 mg if you have heart disease, and 2,000 to 4,000 mg if you have high triglyceride levels. And be sure to ask your doctor about the right dose if you’re taking anticoagulant drugs, which can have serious side effects.