Understanding Supplements for Women – The DO’s and DON’Ts of Taking Them

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Like many women, you may be concerned that you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. That’s especially true if you feel worn out and unwell much of the time. If you’re into working out, you may be thinking about taking supplements to enhance your performance and results.

Whatever your reasons are for considering supplements, it’s important to educate yourself about how and when to take them. Every person is different, but there are some pretty good rules of thumb that apply to most people. Some are specific to women, and others apply to everyone. Learn about the dos and don’ts of using supplements by reading on below.

Do Take Vitamins if You have a Deficiency

If you aren’t getting enough of a certain vitamin or mineral, you may start experiencing unpleasant symptoms. If you suspect that this is the case, don’t try to diagnose yourself. Get tested by a doctor to find out if you are indeed deficient in any of the most important vitamins. If so, your doctor can advise you on supplementing to correct the issue.

Do Learn About Different Vitamins and What They Do

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Educate yourself about the most important vitamins and how they keep you healthy. By doing so, you will be better able to make informed decisions when buying and using supplements. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important vitamins and how likely you are to actually need more of them:

  • Vitamin A – Vitamin A promotes healthy eyes and skin, and it boosts immune functioning too. In high doses, it can be toxic, and the vast majority of people get more than enough of it in their diets.
  • Vitamin B – If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may be deficient in one or more of the eight B vitamins. These help to regulate energy production, metabolism and immune functioning, so they are very important. Many women are deficient, so it’s worth it to get tested.
  • Vitamin C – Women are advised to get at least 75 mg of vitamin C per day. Doses as high as 2,000 mg are perfectly safe, but overdoing it won’t get you any special results.
  • Vitamin D – Research has shown that supplementing with vitamin D may help to improve fertility in some women. It appears to be effective among white women who are actually deficient, but it doesn’t seem to help women of other races or those who aren’t deficient. Vitamin D is also essential for bone health.
  • Calcium – Speaking of bone health, calcium is especially important in this regard. The National Institute of Health, or NIH, says that women ages 19 to 50 should take at least 1,000 mg per day. After 50, women should take 1,200 mg per day.

Don’t Replace Healthy Meals with a Multivitamin

Unfortunately, today’s fast-paced world often makes it difficult to sit down to eat a truly healthy meal. As a result, many women try to make up for it by taking multivitamins.

There is nothing wrong with taking multivitamins, but there is no conclusive evidence that they actually help. The problem is replacing actual food with supplements. That’s not a good thing to do and should be avoided.

Don’t Use Supplements in Lieu of Prescription Medications

If your doctor has prescribed a medication and you’re tired of taking it, you might be thinking about trying supplements instead.

The FDA does not regulate health supplements, and they are not intended to cure specific health problems anyway. Never stop taking prescribed medication without checking with your doctor.

Do Tell Your Doctor That You’re Going to Take Supplements

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Before taking a brand-new supplement, check with your doctor. While supplements are overwhelmingly safe, some shouldn’t be taken with certain medications.

It’s also smart to let your doctor know because they may have better options for you to consider. Anything that directly affects your health is no laughing matter, so schedule an appointment before popping any supplements.

Do Consider Supplementing for Workouts

One area where women benefit enormously from taking supplements involves exercise. If you work out regularly, you may find yourself hitting a plateau or sinking into a rut. If it seems like you work out really hard and consistently and never see results, supplements may help.

Pre-Workout Supplements

One of the most popular supplements on the market right now are pre-workouts. They are designed to give you a big energy boost and enhance your endurance. Using a proprietary blend of energy boosting ingredients, they are a good way to make your workouts more intense, give you a boost in strength and some even aid in recovery. Be careful though, there are many pre-workout supplements out there and they are not all created equal. I’d reccommend checking out this list of the top 10 pre-workout supplements made for women before making a purchase.

Whey Protein Powders

Whey protein is a prime example, as it helps to build muscle and aids in recovery. Branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs, provide similar benefits. Many protein powders include both, which is nice.

If you’re considering taking whey protein as a supplement to your workouts, take a few minutes to watch this video from Dr. Josh Axe and educate yourself on the dos and don’ts of muscle recovery. You might also want to check out this article on the best protein supplements for women. It gives you a lot of info on whey protein powders, but also on casein, soy and other sources of protein.

Conclusion

Supplements can be a major bonus when used in conjunction with a healthy diet. However, they are not designed to take the place of healthy, natural food. If you are experiencing health issues of any kind, go to your doctor first. Attempting to resolve them with supplements is not practical or safe.

If you do have a deficiency, supplementing with specific vitamins could very well improve your health. If you are very active and enjoy working out, there are plenty of amazing supplements out there that can help you meet and exceed your goals–as long as they are used as directed.

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