Vitamins play a crucial role in keeping us healthy.1 Different vitamins play different roles in the body, so it’s important to include a wide range in your diet. Whilst recommendations for most vitamins are the similar in both genders, there certain key vitamins that women require more of due to the different biological functions.2
- Why are vitamins important?
- Do women need different vitamins to men?
- Which vitamins do women need?
- Myprotein women’s multivitamins.
- How to choose the right women’s multivitamin.
Why are vitamins important?
Vitamins play a key role in keeping us fit and healthy and it’s important to include a wide variety in your diet. Vitamins will help to preserve immunity, produce energy and help us perform optimally.1 Different vitamins have different biological roles and some vitamins are more important than others. Both age and gender are key factors that will dictate specific vitamin requirements.2
Do women need different vitamins to men?
For most vitamins, the requirements are the same between men and women with the daily dosage required dependant on body size.2 However, because of menstruation cycles, women have a higher requirement for vitamins involved in the production of red blood cells. These include iron, folate and B-vitamins. For example, between the ages of 19-50, women require nearly twice as much as iron as males.3
As women age, specific vitamin requirements also change. Postmenopausal women require less iron with a daily requirement the same as males (8.7mg).3 With ageing, calcium and vitamin D become more important in order keep bones healthy.1
During pregnancy certain vitamins also become more important for women. These include folate, iodine and calcium as they each play key roles in the baby’s development. Calcium and iodine remain important for new mothers who are breastfeeding.
Which vitamins do women need?
- Iodine: essential for the development of the baby’s brain, iodine is required from the early stages of pregnancy and during breastfeeding to ensure breast milk contains enough iodine.4 It’s recommended that during pregnancy and breastfeeding that you consume around 200mg a day.4
- Folic acid: for those trying to get pregnant or up to 12 weeks pregnant it is recommended you consume 200ug plus a 400ug a day supplement of folic acid to reduce the risk of any problems with the baby’s development.5
- Calcium: important for the health of bones and teeth, calcium is particularly important during breastfeeding. It’s recommended that breastfeeding mums consume 1250mg a day of calcium.6
A large amount of iron is stored in the haemoglobin of your red blood cells. The loss of blood during menstruation means there will be a loss of iron, which is why women between the ages of 19 and 50 need much more iron than males.
Due to its role in the production of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body, iron is important for energy production deficiencies in iron may lead anaemia.7 Iron also plays a key role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D‘s role ranges from immunity preservation to the function and recovery of muscles.8 It helps with the absorption of calcium meaning it helps with keeping bones and teeth healthy.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption may be particularly important as calcium is required for the baby’s development. As dietary sources of vitamin D are limited, our major source of vitamin D is the sun, it is more likely we will be deficient in the winter. This has led to recommendation of supplementing 1000iu of vitamin D during the chillier months.9
Like iron, vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) helps the body form haemoglobin. As haemoglobin is crucial for energy, a lack of B6 may result in fatigue and tiredness 10, both common symptoms experienced during a woman’s period.
Food sources of B6 include pork, poultry soya beans, bananas, oats and milk. Its recommended women consume 1.2mg of vitamin B6 a day and it’s advised that supplementation should not exceed 200mg a day.11
Vitamin B12 helps maintain the health of the nervous system and plays a role in the release of energy from food. Like vitamin B6, B12 is also involved in the production of red blood cells.
Good sources include meat, fish, milk, cheese eggs and breakfast cereals. It’s recommended that you consume 1.5mg a day.11 For vegans this may make it difficult to get from the diet so supplementation may be worth considering.
Vitamin C has a range of functions including the preservation of immunity, maintenance of healthy skin and help with wound healing. Vitamin C also allows the transport and absorption of iron.12 Vitamin C is found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables and between the ages of 19 and 64 you need 40mg a day.11
Myprotein Women’s Multivitamins
Iron and Folic Acid
Containing 14mg of iron per serving, this supplement will help you hit the 14.8mg daily dose required between the ages of 19 and 50.5 It also contains 800ug of folic acid helping those considering pregnancy or already pregnant hit their increased requirements.