With so many health supplements and vitamins available online these days, it can be hard to know where to start. Some focus on beauty concerns such as skin, hair and nail health, whereas others will tell you a high dose of magnesium is the ultimate cure-all. Or is it better to go for a multivitamin to cover all the bases? Our specialist, Jo Travers will advise you on the best vitamins and minerals for your body.
In this article, we're here to help you find the best supplements for women, whether you're looking to improve bone health, boost your vitamin D, alleviate symptoms of PMS or need a little extra support through the menopause. Not only do we share the information you need to know, but we've also ranked our top 10 favourites in the UK to buy online on Amazon, Boots and Waitrose. You'll be feeling at the top of your game in no time!
Author of The Bone Strength Plan and a professional, evidenced-based nutritionist in London. Jo has carried out over 1500 hours of one-to-one consultations with more than 600 clients, as well as the additional hours of workshops, research, and media work with the BBC, Channel 4, The Islam channel and more.
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Jo Travers, author of The Bone Strength Plan is a professional, evidenced-based nutritionist in London. She has carried out over 1500 hours of one-to-one consultations with more than 600 clients, as well as the additional hours of workshops, research, and media work with the BBC, Channel 4, The Islam Channel, and more.
While most women can certainly benefit from the use of a supplement, certain formulations are better suited for specific needs or stages of life. Choosing the right one will help you maximise your overall health and energy levels, to help you reach your potential. Read on to find out everything you need to know!
The needs of a woman starting menopause, trying for a baby or simply looking to feel at her best can all be very different. Whatever stage in life you are at, in this section we discuss which vitamins and minerals can help support you the best.
Women who are pregnant or trying for a baby need specific nutrients. It's recommended to take 400µg of folic acid per day, particularly pre-conception and in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Further, L-Methylfolate is a particularly effective and bioavailable form of folate supplement to look for alongside regular folic acid.
Iron, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin B6 are some other vitamins and minerals that are essential for maternal health and for the baby's development. So taking a targeted multivitamin can be extremely beneficial for pregnant women or those trying to conceive.
Folate or folic acid is essential for cell division and is particularly important for a developing baby. A deficiency in folate can lead to neural tube defects like spina bifida. The neural tube develops in the first couple of weeks of pregnancy - before a woman even knows she is pregnant - so all women of childbearing age should consider taking a supplement in order to ensure adequate intake.
Healthy women under 50 may not have specific concerns, but it's still a good idea to take supplements to support your body's overall health and wellbeing. B vitamins and vitamin C help support your immune system, which can boost energy levels, whereas you may want to consider biotin, zinc and selenium to maintain skin, hair and nails.
Iron and magnesium are also absolutely invaluable for cognitive function, mood and performance. Not to mention the benefits of chromium and inositol, which can help regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent PMS.
Eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will give you a good amount of the vitamins and minerals you need, but there are a couple of nutrients that can be difficult to get through diet alone though.
Vitamin D, iron and calcium for example are nutrients that many women don't get enough of. If you think you might be missing out on anything then multivitamins can be a good insurance policy for picking up the slack!
The menopause can be a difficult time for women. Not only will you be dealing with the changes occurring within your body, the but the various symptoms that come with it, too. During the first few years of menopause women can lose up to 10% of overall bone mass, which makes calcium essential. Where possible, look for calcium combined with vitamin D to improve absorption.
As oestrogen decreases, so does collagen, leaving our skin looking less plump. So choose vitamin C and selenium, to help encourage skin regeneration. And let's not forget hot flushes, a well known menopausal symptom that many women experience. Magnesium can be a miracle worker in alleviating hot flushes, with the added bonus of helping you to get a good night's rest!
The menopause means a dramatic reduction in oestrogen which means women lose hormonal protection of bone density, which means bone loss exceeds bone growth. Calcium is what makes bones hard but we need vitamin D to absorb it.
There are very few foods that contain vitamin D but it is usually made in the skin in the presence of sunlight. However in winter months - especially in colder countries, it can be very difficult to get enough sunlight so a supplement is the best way of getting vitamin D.
Whether you suffer from PMS each month, or you don't always have the level of energy you would like, certain supplements can be real game changers providing you know what to look for! Here are a couple of common concerns women experience and how to support them.
PMS symptoms can range from a minor tummyache, to an extended period of mood swings, cramps and other painful or uncomfortable symptoms. Its important to get enough calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium and essential fatty acids before your period, if you usually suffer with PMS.
Research shows that taking calcium can help women cope with PMS symptoms, reducing fatigue, appetite and depression. Vitamin B6 can be effective for relieving low mood, anxiety and even food cravings while magnesium has been shown to reduce breast tenderness and bloating. Not to forget essential fatty acids, which provide the nutrients to generally improve PMS symptoms overall.
Vitamin B6 is integral to the production of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters involved in mood stabilisation and a reduction in anxiety and stress. B6 has also been shown to reduce water retention and bloating, which are both often seen in PMS.
Calcium is associated with oestrogen, a hormone that fluctuates during the menstrual cycle, and people with PMS symptoms have been found to have lower levels of calcium. Increasing calcium intake can improve some of the symptoms, particularly headaches and anxiety.
Not only great for reducing menstrual cramps and supporting pregnancy, iron and magnesium are essential for maintaining daily functions within the female body. If you are feeling tired or fatigued on a regular basis, you could be deficient in one of these vitamins or minerals.
The modern diet doesn't include quite as much magnesium as we need, so it's advised to take a supplement alongside your leafy greens, nuts, seeds and other magnesium rich foods. If you think you may be deficient, try taking a multivitamin containing both iron and magnesium to have you back to your old self in no time at all!
Iron carries oxygen around the body in the blood and without enough oxygen, cells can't work properly and that leads to tiredness. Women need twice as much iron as men as they lose so much through menstruation, and for that reason, iron deficiency is most common in women.
Magnesium is a key component in hundreds of enzymes, so too little affects lots of functions leading to an overall feeling of fatigue. Absorption of both magnesium and iron can be hindered by calcium, so if you are taking calcium supplements, try to have them at different times of the day.
If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid issue, it's important that you first discuss any treatment plan with your GP who can help you safely monitor and manage your condition. However there are some vitamins, minerals and adaptogen plants that have been known to provide support.
Vitamin A & D, selenium, zinc and iron are all adept at supporting thyroid function and can be found in most supplements. Siberian ginseng is one of the 'adaptogen' plants that is thought to help the body to adapt better when dealing with stressors. Alongside other adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, it may help strengthen the building blocks of T3 and T4. Sea kelp is also one of the best natural sources of iodine, which is an essential component in thyroid hormone production.
Zinc and vitamin A work together to regulate the thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH. TSH in turn is responsible for the release of thyroid hormones like thyroxine. Zinc deficiency is also thought to be partly responsible for hair loss in people with reduced thyroid function, or hypothyroidism.
Iron-deficiency anaemia is also associated with hypothyroidism and iron is often added to the medical treatment to improve symptoms.
It's important for any vegans and vegetarians to carefully read the ingredients list before buying. Many supplements contain animal-derived ingredients such as gelatine, or include fatty acids that come from fish oil. While these ingredients do have benefits, they won't be suitable for plant-based diets
Those with food allergies or intolerances will also want to be clued up on the ingredients. Although less common, supplements can also contain gluten, lactose and soy.
Even small amounts of gluten can trigger symptoms in people with coeliac disease, but if supplements contain any gluten - or other allergens, they must be clearly labelled. Fatty acids like omega 3 are often called fish oils, but they are also found in nuts and seeds so if you are following a plant-based diet you needn’t miss out, just look for vegan supplements.
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Ultra Women's Energy Wholefood Plus
A High Strength Formulation of 26 Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support
A Natural Botanical Lifestyle Supplement
Female Balance Complex
Natural and Vegan Complex for Hormonal Balance
Support for Women Going Through Menopause
Trying for a Baby
Best Supplement for Fertility and Maternal Health
Complete Micronutrient Support for Women
Maximum Care Throughout Pregnancy
Plus Skin 56S
Advanced Support for Skin, Hair and Nails
Perfect7 Woman Plus
Special Formula to Maintain Youthfulness and Vitality
Multivitamin Tablets for Women
A Complete Daily Multivitamin
In at numero uno, we have what at first looks to be a bit of a wildcard. Made up of 26 vitamins and minerals, this multi includes all the most important vitamins and minerals including B12, folic acid and D3.
Alive! Ultra combines five of their signature wholefood blends to deliver more plant-based goodness than you could eat in a day. Just be warned, it may make your wee a little bit greener, but you'll likely be feeling too good to mind!
Specially formulated to support women under stress, this supplement contains your daily dose of B vitamins, including B12 and folic acid. One of the more luxury, high-end supplements, it's a simply wonderful product presented in beautiful packaging.
Daily Wellbeing & Hormonal Support incorporates Siberian ginseng and sea kelp to boost energy and maintain healthy thyroid function. Plus chromium and inositol to support fertility, mood and regulate menstrual cycles too!
Vegavero have taken a lot of care to source only natural, high-quality ingredients for this product. The Female Balance Complex combines a high percentage of Lady's Mantle extract for skin and nails, with red Maca for mood. Of course, you will also find plenty of B vitamins alongside essential iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Brilliantly supportive, this supplement is formulated to maintain hormonal balance throughout the month. All in a capsule that's vegan and free from additives and GM ingredients!
A nutritional supplement for all stages of the menopause, Menopause Support contains soy isoflavones, magnesium, hibiscus extract and vervain oil, all known remedies for reducing fatigue and supporting the nervous system during this time.
GM free and suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, A.Vogel's ingredients are naturally sourced, herbal remedies for health and vitality. Menopause Support can be taken alongside HRT and can be supplemented with Menoforce or other A.Vogel products for extra vigour!
When it comes to supplements, Seven Seas is a brand you can trust. That's why you can rely upon this formulation if you are trying for a baby. Including the recommended 400µg of folic acid and other essentials such as iron, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin B6, it helps to regulate hormonal activity, whilst supporting normal fertility and reproduction.
Make sure to continue to take this supplement during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, as it contains vitamins and minerals to help baby develop.
A three-in-one supplement pack, Wellwoman Max provides micronutrient tablets, high purity Omega-3, 6 and 9 capsules and calcium and vitamin D tablets. The convenient pack contains 84 tablets, which will last you 28 days.
This supplement also includes vitamins B6, B12 and thiamine to improve energy levels, and zinc and iron for cognitive function. All this and a host of other vitamins and minerals to support the immune system. It's the only multivitamin you'll need to take!
Pregnacare Max is an advanced formula, providing the ultimate nutritional support throughout pregnancy. Containing 400µg folic acid, including L-Methylfolate, it's the most complete supplement in the Pregnacare range.
Together with many other essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, calcium and high purity omega-3, it provides all the key nutrients needed for mum, and baby's development.
The number one beauty supplement brand in the UK, Perfectil Plus Skin contains advanced micronutrients, vitamins and minerals to support skin, hair and nails. This triple support formula also provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, lutein, co-enzyme Q10 and lycopene for everything you need in one supplement.
Perfectil might be ideal for women at all stages of life, but the formulation does contain both fish and soya, so it won't be suitable for every diet.
Containing 30 multivitamin and mineral tablets and 30 Omega-3 capsules, Perfect7 Woman Plus supports health and vitality as you age. A dynamic combination of magnesium, zinc, biotin, vitamins B2 and B6 with EPA and DHA helps maintain the body's functions including hormone regulation and healthy skin and hair.
Although it's not as much of an all-rounder as some, when taken alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can be sure you're getting what you need with this advanced supplement!
Tailored to women under the age of 50, Centrum contains a high dose of vitamin D, alongside vitamins B6, B12 and vitamin C to reduce tiredness and support the immune system perfectly. Biotin and zinc help maintain hair and skin, and selenium supports healthy-looking nails.
We like that the smaller tablet size makes it easy to swallow. However, if you're a veggie or vegan, be aware that Centrum contains gelatine.
Alongside supplements, there are plenty of other ways to help you feel good, inside and out. Self care is a truly holistic experience, which is why we have selected a few more articles that we hope will will inspire you to indulge your health and wellbeing!
Hopefully this article has helped you find the perfect supplement for your lifestyle, health needs and dietary requirements. When you're feeling at your best, you'll be ready to take on the world - or maybe just that after work exercise class, whatever works for you!
Author: Melanie McPhail
No. 1: Alive!｜Ultra Women's Energy Wholefood Plus
No. 2: anatomē ｜Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support
No. 3: Vegavero｜Female Balance Complex
No. 4: A.Vogel｜Menopause Support
No. 5: Seven Seas ｜Trying for a Baby
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