Does a woman need a specific multivitamin for different stages of her life? The answer is a resounding yes.
As women move into their 50s, 60s and beyond, their nutritional and health needs change. A gender- and age-specific multivitamin is intended to fill the gaps in the diet. And a woman’s multi after menopause should have certain specifications.
Post-Menopausal needs for women’s multivitamins include:
This is the first thing to look for. Although iron deficiency is common in reproductive-aged women, the need for iron decreases once a woman has gone through menopause and her menstrual cycle ceases. As such, the need for supplemental iron is no longer necessary. However, there may be exceptions to the general rule in particular situations, so it’s best to consult your healthcare practitioner to determine your individual needs.
Methylated forms of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is needed for optimal brain and nervous system health, as well as healthy energy levels.* Dietary B12 is found primarily in animal foods, such as meat and seafood, and has a fairly complex absorption process. In addition, many people over age 50 take Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) and Metformin, which can both lead to a B12 deficiency.†
Look for a multivitamin that contains a methylated form of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). Vitamin B12 works as a team with folate and vitamin B6. Keeping that in mind, it’s also wise to seek out a multivitamin with the active form of vitamin B6 (P5P) and the methylated folate (5-MTHF).
We’ve all been hearing lately about the importance of vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” is needed for bone health, immune function and a healthy mood.† Ultimately, the best way to know exactly how much vitamin D3 you need to supplement with is to be tested. A daily multivitamin with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 is a good starting baseline.
As a woman’s nutritional needs change in her post-menopausal years, a gender- and age-specific multivitamin is as important as ever. Finding a multi with the appropriate mix of nutrients can do much to support a woman’s health and wellness for many years.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
Article contributed by Erin Stokes, N.D., Medical Director at INNATE Response. Dr. Stokes received her naturopathic doctor degree from Bastyr University in 2001. Shortly afterwards she began to pursue her passion for educating others by teaching Western Pathology and Psychology of Healing at Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colo. She combines her experience as a naturopathic doctor with an extensive background in the natural retail industry, most recently providing naturopathic consultations at an integrative pharmacy for over six years. Her personal mission is to empower people with the inspiration and tools to change their lives, and she is a frequent radio show and podcast guest. Dr. Stokes is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Colorado, and lives with her family in Boulder, Colo.