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7 Underrated Nutrients Every Woman Needs

There’s a big world of vitamins but these trusty nutrients will help you for the long haul.

At a glance

    •    What Are Women Missing?
    •    Common Health Hurdles For Women
    •    Don't Overlook These Key Vitamins & Minerals
    •    What About Botanicals?
    •    Choosing A Multivitamin

It goes without saying that your health journey is always unique to you. But when we look at women’s health from a bird’s-eye view, there are some ingredients that make a big difference in overall health:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Probiotics

Also, not enough people look for the following 3 powerful botanicals in their supplements — all of which have amazing antioxidant properties.

  • Lutein
  • Resveratrol
  • Astaxanthin

You know we are all about helping you enjoy life healthier. On that note, it’s good to keep in mind the potential health hurdles women might face later in life, according to research.

The Most Common Health Hurdles for Women

Heart Health: Managing stress levels, not smoking, and being physically active are some key ways to lower your chances of heart concerns. It’s a grim statistic, but only about half of women are aware that issues involving heart health are the leading cause of death for 29% of women (1 in 5 women) in the United States.

Bone Health: Got milk? Maybe not enough…Women tend to have thinner bones than men, and the chance of developing an issue increases as women reach menopause.Of the estimated 10 million Americans with more serious bone concerns, about eight million, or 80% are women. Magnesium and Vitamin D play a role here, as we explain further in the article.

Mood Support: As we all well know, women’s bodies cycle on a wonderful monthly program each month. The ebb and flow of hormones (and drops and dips, especially during menopause) in estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones can disrupt the function of brain chemicals such as serotonin that control mood, research suggests. There are other genetic and lifestyle factors in play here affecting women’s mental health, but it’s worth mentioning that about twice as many women as men experience low mood. Vitamin D and Resveratrol come into play as MVPs here.

Let’s Look At Those Underrated Nutrients

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1. Vitamin D3

Benefits:

  • Immune function support
  • Positive mood support
  • Bone Health support
  • Hormone health

First off, most of the country is skimping on their D levels. Americans don’t get enough Vitamin D — and 95% of women over 50 are deficient! We think Vitamin D should be a supplement staple for women for a few key reasons, and we outlined it further below.

Vitamin D and the Immune System

Vitamin D3 unlocks a cascade of biological processes in the immune system. In this way, it acts more like a hormone than a nutrient.

“Think of your genes as the computer mastermind behind your body,” says Dr. Cannell, who started the nonprofit Vitamin D Council to educate the public on the importance of Vitamin D. 

“Two-thousand of your genes are waiting for an adequate amount of Vitamin D so that they can be told what to do. Without it, the body cannot signal those genes to act as they should.”

Vitamin D makes the immune system work and react smarter, not necessarily stronger, which is key.

A smarter immune system makes Vitamin D supplementation a wonderful addition for women. New research is looking better and better for Vitamin D and immune function. A 2022 study showed Vitamin D supplements helped lower risk of autoimmune issues by 22%.

Vitamin D and Mood

Here comes the sun. The science looks bright for Vitamin D and feeling good. A large body of research links Vitamin D deficiency to low mood. People with Vitamin D deficiency had an increased risk for dysregulated mood when compared to those with higher levels of Vitamin D, according to a review of 13 studies with over 31,000 participants.

Vitamin D Supports Bone Health: Vitamin D is a big supporter of healthy bones, due to its duties in regulating magnesium and calcium. Check those Vitamin D levels, because depleted D levels are linked to an increased risk of serious bone health issues later in life.

Vitamin D Supports Hormone Balance

High-dose Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to help support hormones.

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2. A High Efficiency Form of Magnesium

Benefits:

  • Muscle Health
  • Sleep Support
  • Cardio Health

While we get magnesium from our diet in foods like leafy greens and pumpkin seeds, many women run about 100 mg short a day. Magnesium is the “cellular governor” that manages over 300 bodily processes, in particular managing bone metabolism.

Magnesium And Muscle Health: Magnesium promotes a calm mind, soothes muscles, helps with restful sleep, and helps with tension headaches. This is especially helpful for supporting a healthy pregnancy to help with muscle relaxation, tissue repair, and helping to relax contractions.

Magnesium and Rest: Research studies show Magnesium supplementation plays a key role in the regulation of sleep and boosting sleep quality by helping to calm and support a healthy nervous system before and during sleep.

Magnesium and Cardio Health:

Women, who are more subject to heart issues as they age, could benefit greatly from getting proper magnesium intake because it helps regulate blood pressure. Because Magnesium helps your heart muscle cells relax, it is needed to counter the effects of calcium. Magnesium is crucial for supporting heart function, blood vessel integrity, and proper circulation.

Pro Tips for Magnesium Supplementation

  • Look for Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate Buffered, which is more bioavailable than ordinary Magnesium. Consider taking a Magnesium supplement that contains balanced levels of Vitamin D and Calcium as cofactors.
  • Coffee and alcohol drinkers: Living a high-stress lifestyle and drinking coffee or a moderate amount of alcohol on a regular basis has been shown to deplete Magnesium levels, increasing the chances of having a deficiency.

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3. Zinc

Benefits:

  • Immune Health
  • Skin Healing

Research suggests that women may be prone to low Zinc status -- especially during pregnancy. A 2019 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found that Zinc deficiency during pregnancy can influence microbiota and inflammatory status in mice. 

Zinc is not produced by the body, so we must get enough from diet or supplementation.

You generally must eat a lot of meat, seafood (particularly oysters), or dairy to get the minimum RDA of 11 mg of Zinc for an adult.

Zinc and Immunity:

A balanced amount of Zinc is crucial for “defending against invading pathogens or protecting the human body against an overactive immune system,” according to 2017 research.

Zinc and Skin Healing:

Zinc supports the healing process in the body tissue. (Did you know Zinc is in diaper rash cream?) Studies show Zinc may help also relieve some of the redness and irritation associated with moderate to severe acne.

Not all Zinc is absorbed the same. There are many different forms of Zinc, but we recommend taking a clinical, optimized source of Zinc (like OptiZinc®). Get Zinc from your multivitamin or immune health formulas.

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4. A High-Quality Probiotic
  • Urogenital health
  • Positive Mood
  • Nervous System

New research shows a remarkable link between gut health and brain health. This is no surprise considering the microbiota gut-brain axis is associated with your mood, G.I. distress, and CNS concerns.

Overall, Probiotics are a wonderful way to keep your gut happy (relieve constipation and bloating) and help your stomach absorb other nutrients better overall.

"Millions of bacteria in your gut that send signals to your brain, nervous system, and immune system to function properly."

Probiotics and Urogenital health: Women have a shorter urethra than men, making it easier for bacteria to travel up the urinary tract. One in five women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. (Not fun!) Studies have shown that Probiotics help maintain vaginal health by helping restore imbalance, as well as restoring the body’s bacteria to a healthier place after a yeast infection.

Probiotics and Mood: Research exploring the relationship between the gut microbiome, stress, and cognition propose Prebiotic and Probiotic interventions may help to balance brain function. When gut bacteria from people with mood concerns is transported into lab rats, studies have shown what they are calling a “transfer of the blues.”

Probiotics and Nervous System: There is a direct, two-way connection with the brain via the central nervous system. The gut has a direct neural connection with the brain through the vagus nerve, and bacteria can stimulate the afferent neurons of the ENS.

You can also keep the balance with “good mood foods” and these 7 nutrition strategies to take charge of your digestive health.

Bonus: 3 Underrated Antioxidants — Lutein, Resveratrol, and Astaxanthin

Antioxidants help squash oxidative stress, and women don’t need any more of that. These amazing botanicals can do wonders to elevate your overall wellness.

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Lutein
  • Skin: Keeps skin 38% more elastic
  • Brain: Promotes cognitive function
  • Eyes: Lutein is scientifically shown to protect our eyes from blue light

Most people get 1 mg to 2mg of Lutein from the diet (kale, spinach, corn and peppers) but 10 mg of Lutein is proven to be beneficial for eye health. Our eyes are more vulnerable to blue light than ever before. Most multivitamins don’t have lutein — and if they do, it’s probably not at a clinically studied 10 mg dose that’s backed by over 20 years of research like FloraGLO® Lutein. So be sure to scan the supplement facts for a clinically studied Lutein.

Resveratrol
  • Hormone Health
  • Bone Health
  • Anti-aging

You can get lower doses of resveratrol in red wine and grapes, but that’s not enough to see a difference. Look for resveratrol in a multi or its own supplement.

Astaxanthin
  • Eye Health: Helps with eye fatigue and eye strain
  • Energy Production and Endurance: Helps support mitochondrial function

Famous for its red pigment found in salmon and flamingos, Astaxanthin helps you be a fiercer you by providing dynamic antioxidant power. Head here for a deep dive on the benefits of astaxanthin.

On Choosing a Multivitamin

When you focus on filling your body with essential nutrients, you can spend more time on being your best self. So, rule out those deficiencies and make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc, and gut-healthy Probiotics!

It goes without saying that one good way to ensure you are hitting all the bases is to take a women’s multivitamin.

But of course, no formula is 100% one size fits all. When looking at supplements, consider doing the following:

  • Check your bloodwork: Iron, Vitamin D, and B12 deficiencies should be officially determined with bloodwork. Gut issues, like celiac disease or IBS also cause poor absorption of certain ingredients.
  • Check medication interactions: Research how your prescription medication may interact with nutrients in the body. (For example, studies have found low vitamin B12 and folate levels in women taking oral contraceptives.)
  • Consider your stage of life: It’s always best to consult with your OBGYN if you are pregnant or have menstrual irregularities.

References

https://europepmc.org/article/med/11951581

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27413138/

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/05/28/how-bacteria-in-your-gut-interact-with-the-mind-and-body

https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/features/heartdisease/index.html

https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/76/7/481/4985887

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression/art-20047725

https://eternaldermatology.com/zinc-and-acne/