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Top 5 Nutrients For Women's Health

From hyaluronic acid to folic acid, women require a unique set of nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

10/18/19 By Purity Products 10 min read

womens nutrients

It’s a scientific fact that the two biological sexes each require a unique collection of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and compounds to achieve physiological homeostasis and sustained healthiness well into advanced age. In this article, we will look at the top five nutrients for women’s health, along with a few surprising facts about how women can maintain a healthy lifestyle. (For a look at the top 5 nutrients for men, you can click here.)

Article at a Glance:

 

Nutrients For Women’s Health

  • Calcium and iron are most closely associated with women’s health
  • However, these aren’t the only crucial nutrients for women

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to ensure bone health
  • Vitamin D could also help you manage autoimmune disease

Magnesium

  • Magnesium could help with migraines
  • Various PMS symptoms could also be addressed with magnesium

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)

  • Rich in omega-6 fatty acids, EPO helps in cases of inflammation
  • Studies suggest EPO could help with PMS symptoms, including breast pain
  • EPO could even address hot flashes associated with menopause

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

  • HA is popular in the cosmetic world, but also could help as a wound healer and anti-aging supplement
  • Your skin naturally has HA, but it decreases with age
  • HA supplementation could help increase skin moisture and overall health
  • Studies also show topical HA is also helpful in skin health

Folic Acid

  • Folic Acid, a form of folate, is especially important during child-bearing years
  • Research shows that it could potentially help prevent birth defects
  • Folic acid is also important for mood support and cognitive function

The phrase “women’s health” usually evokes a specific set of concerns, typically centered around either menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. But while these are vastly important stages in a woman’s life, they are by no means the only front-and-center health concerns that most women should address with diet and supplementation. 

For starters, calcium and iron are probably most associated with overall women’s health. But while both of those nutrients have their place in the larger health regimen for women, too much of either can actually spark some unwanted effects. 

Calcium is important for strong bones, especially for women. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 80 percent are women and approximately one in two women age 50 or over will break a bone because of osteoporosis. This is mainly because women tend to have thinner bones than men and bone-protecting estrogen decreases sharply when women reach menopause. 

Even still, additional calcium doesn’t seem to be the answer for women. According to a 2006 report from the Women’s Health Initiative, postmenopausal women who took a calcium supplement did not experience a reduced risk of breaking their hips—and any improvements that were seen can more than likely be attributed to vitamin D rather than calcium. Furthermore, excess calcium has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, perhaps due to the nutrient’s muscle-contracting abilities. It’s best to coordinate calcium intake with a doctor, especially given the amount of calcium-rich foods available to the daily diet.

Meanwhile, iron is an essential mineral used mostly in red blood cells. Women see the highest rate of iron deficiency, but that doesn’t mean overdoing it with supplements is the answer. Iron overload can lead to a handful of health issues, including iron poisoning. Medical wisdom recommends only supplementing with iron if a doctor directs you to as a way to handle anemia or other specific conditions.

So, instead of calcium and iron, let’s take a look at five nutrients that can truly bring health and wellness to women.

For starters, calcium and iron are probably most associated with overall women’s health. But while both of those nutrients have their place in the larger health regimen for women, too much of either can actually spark some unwanted effects. 

Vitamin D For Women’s Health

As mentioned earlier in relation to calcium, vitamin D has emerged as a lead nutrient in the quest for bone health. Without vitamin D, your body wouldn’t be able to absorb calcium and would instead need to take calcium from its skeletal storage, which then weakens your existing bones. This is even more important as you grow older—and doubly important to women when considering that they are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. 

Some studies estimate that about 1 billion people worldwide have insufficient levels of this vitamin, while one study in particular shows that 36 percent of adolescents and 57 percent of adults in the U.S. are lacking sufficient levels of vitamin D. It doesn’t help that so few foods we routinely consume are naturally rich in vitamin D. Then there’s foods fortified with Vitamin D, like milk, which unfortunately comes with a few health concerns of its own.

And yet, studies still demonstrate that vitamin D facilitates multiple biological processes, like calcium and phosphorus metabolism, neurogenesis, genome stability, and more. Vitamin D also has a role in a woman’s healthy immune system, as it modulates the production of antimicrobial peptides—namely, cathelicidin, which serve a critical role in our innate immune defense against bacterial infection. 

Meanwhile, vitamin D could also help you manage autoimmune diseases, with studies showing that the vitamin promotes T-cells that travel the body separating troublesome organisms from healthy cells. 

Magnesium For Women’s Health

As we’ve recently learned, there’s no shortage of benefits to be gleaned from magnesium. But for women, those benefits are engaged by an entirely different set of circumstances. 

Let’s start with how magnesium could potentially address migraines. This more painful and debilitating version of a headache often comes with nausea and an extreme sensitivity to light and noise. It’s now believed that there is a correlation between people who suffer from migraines and people who have a magnesium deficiency, while studies suggest that magnesium could potentially prevent and soothe migraine attacks. 

Also, women of child-bearing age often suffer periodically from premenstrual syndrome, with incidents of water retention, abdominal cramps, fatigue, and irritability being the most common symptoms. Studies show that magnesium could be helpful in this area as well. One study demonstrated that oral supplementation of magnesium could address premenstrual symptoms, while another study specifically showed that the mineral could help with fluid retention. 

And magnesium also helps incidents of depression, whether or not it is tied to premenstrual syndrome. Studies have demonstrated that a deficiency in magnesium could be linked to depression, and one study in particular showed depression is most pronounced in younger adults with low levels of magnesium. 

 

Evening Primrose Oil For Women’s Health

Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) has grown in popularity in the last decade, becoming a mainstay in women’s health regimens. But this herbal remedy, that also goes by the name of hogweed, King’s cure-all, and fever-plant, is no fad—its prowess is rooted in some very real science. 

One of the most important ingredients in evening primrose (EPO) oil is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is also found in other plant-based oils, while it’s also a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids. Produced from its source plant, evening primrose oil is perhaps best known for its application in cases of inflammation, like skin conditions. It’s also a useful ingredient in several conditions specific to women’s health, including breast pain, menopausal and premenstrual symptoms, and pregnancy-related issues. 

As mentioned earlier, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can cause depression, irritability, and bloating. One study suggests that some women are sensitive to PMS symptoms because they are sensitive to prolactin levels, and evening primrose oil’s GLA converts to a substance that prevents prolactin from wreaking havoc. Another study says that combining evening primrose oil in a supplement with vitamin B6 and vitamin E makes it even more effective in relieving PMS.

Evening primrose oil could even potentially address breast pain associated with PMS. It’s thought that the anti-inflammatory properties of EPO—specifically its GLA—could reduce inflammation and help to inhibit the lipid compounds that cause periodic breast pain when it’s taken with vitamin E.

When it comes to menopause, hot flashes is one of the most common and troublesome side effects. EPO could help this symptom as well, with a 2013 study demonstrating that women who took EPO daily for six weeks experienced less severe and less frequent hot flashes, while some women in the study also reported improved mood and sexuality. 

Moving onto skin conditions, EPO could potentially help to smooth skin and improve its moisture and elasticity, according to a 2005 study. Once again, it’s the GLA in EPO delivering a rich dose of healthy fatty acids that makes it effective. And it’s the same for some cases of acne, which saw positive results in the reduction of skin inflammation thanks to EPO.

 

Hyaluronic Acid For Women’s Skin Health

Let’s talk about skin for a moment. While some people may think of taking care of your skin as a matter of vanity, healthy skin goes deeper than that. Your outer skin is a reflection of your inner health—and supporting it with proper nutrition should be part of your daily health regimen. So, if your skin is wrinkled, worn, itchy, or dehydrated, hyaluronic acid might be the remedy you’re looking for. 

Hyaluronic acid (or HA) entered the world of cosmetics in the 1990s, when it became a much-publicized ingredient for beauty products and a must-have in the bathroom cabinets of all fashion trendsetters. Biologically speaking, HA is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found in the body’s connective tissue—glycosaminoglycan being unbranched carbohydrates (sugars) called polysaccharides. The attention HA has received is well-earned, as it’s a powerful wound healer and its depletion as you age makes you more susceptible to wrinkles and other age-related skin conditions. 

The main benefit of HA is its ability to promote healthier and more supple skin. Though you naturally have HA in your skin, the natural aging process and exposure to the sun and pollution can deplete your body’s natural stores. Studies show that taking HA supplements could help to prevent this natural decline by delivering a surplus of HA, while demonstrating the ability to increase skin moisture and reduce dry skin. 

You want hydrated skin because it could reduce the appearance of wrinkles, giving you that smooth look that counters the aging process. In one study, HA was highly effective in diminishing wrinkles among participants. But it’s not just oral supplementation, as studies show that topical solutions with HA showed a significant efficacy in decreasing wrinkles, hydrating skin, and increasing elasticity.

 

Folic Acid For Women’s Health

All eight B vitamins are important to daily health, but folic acid—the stable, artificial form of folate (B9)—is perhaps most important to women, especially during child-bearing years. 

But what are the benefits of focusing on folic acid during pregnancy? For starters, researchers recommend that all women who are of reproductive age should increase their daily intake of folic acid. The main reason for folic acid before and during pregnancy seems to be the vitamin’s efficiency in helping to prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spine. But more studies seem to confirm that folic acid supplementation is even more important during pregnancy than previously thought, as it could potentially address multiple complications. 

Beyond pregnancy, folic acid is pivotal for women of all ages for mood support and cognitive function. Research shows that in lab tests, folic acid could lower inflammation and your levels of homocysteine, the pesky amino acid that potentially contributes to a decline in brain health. Going deeper into the inner workings of the brain, studies demonstrate that folic acid could switch off the genes that set negative brain conditions in motion as you age. 

 

The Many Wonders Of Women’s Health

The battle of the sexes isn’t actually the two genders pitted against one another—instead, it’s each gender’s battle against time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And for women, that battle is singular and unique, featuring nutrients geared specifically toward the wonder of womanhood. By taking the time to ensure that these 5 nutrients are part of your daily routine, you are making the effort to give yourself a healthy future.

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