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8 Important Supplements for Women

Fitday Editor

Traveling to a resort in Traverse City, Mich., I came across an anti-aging seminar going on in the spa. The room was packed with women on a quest for a youthful look and how to slow down the aging process. They already knew about the importance of moisturizing with sunscreen and many had tried the newest anti-wrinkle creams for the eyes and face. But slowing down the aging process comes from the inside out through a proper diet of whole foods and exercise. There are, however, eight important supplements for women that support optimum health and vitality.

1. Calcium and Magnesium

Calcium is an important mineral found in the bones and teeth however, women are more susceptible than men for developing osteoporosis. There is one percent of calcium floating around in the blood that is critical for supporting the heart, muscles, normal cell function, and blood clotting. If that one percent drops in the blood then the body will take the calcium it needs from the bones.

Magnesium is important for relaxing the muscles including the heart. Calcium and magnesium taken together is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure naturally plus it's wonderful to take at night about an hour before bed to help relax the entire body including the heart for a great night's sleep.

Look for a supplement that offers calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio of 500 milligrams of calcium with 250 milligrams of magnesium. Take once in the morning with breakfast to help lower blood pressure throughout the day and again at night about an hour before bed.

2. Fish Oil (Omega 3s) Reduces Inflammation

Omega 3s, or fish oil, are essential fatty acids and can be found in salmon, trout, herring, sardines, tuna, and of course a fish oil supplement. Fish are rich in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)-fats that cannot be made in the body. Many women do not get enough of these very special fats so it's important to supplement with a good quality, contaminant-free, fish oil supplement. The typical dosage is 1,000 milligrams daily to help reduce inflammation, support blood vessels, and the heart to prevent heart disease.

Another added benefit for taking Omega 3s is their ability to prevent moodiness, depression, and improve brain function. Many women report a reduction or elimination of pain in the joints as Omega 3 fish oil helps reduce inflammation throughout the entire body. Please note: Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications, pregnant or have a history of bleeding disorders before taking Omega 3s fish oil supplements.

3. Have You Had Anything "GREEN" Today?

Green foods like spirulina, blue green algae, spinach, leafy green vegetables, and asparagus are full of folate derived from their foliage. The cells in our body need this water-soluble B-vitamin to function properly. Folate is critical for pregnant women to prevent birth abnormalities in the fetus like spina bifida and to support normal homocysteine levels in the blood.

Folate can be found in your multi-vitamin, especially pre-natal vitamins to support a baby's development during pregnancy.

4. B-Complex to De-STRESS the Body

B-complex vitamins can be found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The B vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), and biotin. Meat, fish, and milk contain Vitamin B12 but many foods are fortified with B-vitamins.

The demands of everyday life can be stressful, especially taking care of family, work, the spouse, and exercise. Burning calories at the gym increases a woman's need for these very important vitamins. It's also important to support the adrenal glands that help keep balance of all the hormones in women and prevent cortisol (the stress hormone) from being released and stored, predominantly in the lower abdomen. Look for a stress-formula, good-quality B-complex vitamin, and follow label directions.

5. Coenzyme Q10 Supports Heart Function

A variety of foods including meat and fish contain Coenzyme Q10. It's a powerful antioxidant that fuels the mitochondria in the cells, slows down the aging process from the inside out, and supports heart function. Anyone taking a cholesterol-lowering medication needs to be on CoenzymeQ10 because these medications block the body's ability to produce any CoenzymeQ10 or absorb it from food. Vegetarians can find this antioxidant in beans and legumes. The typical supplement dosage is 100 milligram daily and should be taken with food for best absorption.

6. Build Your Immune System with Vitamin D3

D3 is found in foods like milk however many women don't drink milk, but it can also be made in our bodies when exposed to sunlight. However, with every make-up line and moisturizer touting sunscreen, it makes it more difficult for our bodies to absorb the benefits of sunlight. Plus, who wants the sun damage to the skin, right?

Vitamin D3 builds the immune system to fight certain diseases, including osteoporosis. Look for a supplement with at least 500 to 800 IU to take daily. You may find a Vitamin D supplement that includes calcium choose a multi-vitamin that includes both D3 and calcium.

7. Lutein to Protect the Eyes

Lutein is found in dark, leafy green vegetables as well as egg yolks, various fruits, and corn. It's a powerful antioxidant that protects the eyes from free radicals (toxins, chemicals, and pollutants) damaging the eyes that can lead to macular degeneration. Lutein is found in the skin that helps protect against sun damage and women with a family history of macular degeneration should take lutein as a supplement. The usual dosage is six to ten milligrams daily taken with food.

8. Resveratrol for The Young At Heart

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that contains polyphenol found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes used to make red wine. It has been shown to increase the cellular productivity and longevity leading to a more youthful appearance in the skin. Resveratrol is good for the heart so as a supplement, follow label directions.

Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, National Speaker and Spokesperson, Author of 2 healthy cookbooks, Writer, Ghost Writer, Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She has shared the stage with such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Suze Orman and the late Governor Ann Richards and served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK. She has cooked for her favorite bodybuilder, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and his family, shared her nutrition expertise with Chuck Norris on the set of his movie "Sidekicks" and appeared on 8-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney's Championship Workouts on ESPN. Sherry hosted her own "Healthy Living" show on PBS for several years. For more information on Sherry, visit or write to Sherry at [email protected].

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