Vitamins, minerals, botanicals and herbs – oh my. When it comes to rounding the corner on 40, I would say it’s time for women to amp up their fight against age related ailments. Women over 40 have unique needs, particularly when it comes to supporting their bodies in preparation for their midlife change. Issues around hormone changes, heart health, bone density, weight and general wellness become increasingly important.
Typically, she is at the end of her childbearing years at some point in her 40s. She is also in perimenopause
for much of her 40s, which occurs many years (some research shows 8-10 years) prior to menopause or she is undergoing the cessation of her menstrual period. Some women in perimenopause start to have a lot of shifts in their menstrual cycle. It can become longer or shorter. A woman may more and more premenstrual symptoms, mood changes, heavier or lighter periods. She may also start experiencing hot flashes and insomnia. For some women these symptoms are mild, for others, they can be like a rollercoaster of physical and emotional symptoms.
I often focus on supporting a woman’s adrenal glands
during this time so that she has a smoother transition from perimenopause to menopause. In addition, when a woman has exaggerated PMS symptoms, I offer support for her liver—typically herbs that assist with the breakdown of estrogen or hormone detoxification. This helps her have an “easier” hormonal ride. †
The best vitamins to consider during this time are those that support the following key areas of a woman’s health:
For bone density: Calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin K2, zinc
Even though your bones absorb most of the calcium they need earlier in life (typically before age 30), calcium plays a role in maintaining bone health later in life as well. Plus, calcium is needed for other basic body functions such as muscle contraction, nerve and heart functioning, and other biochemical reactions. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, the body steals calcium from your bones, which weakens them.
So, while you do need calcium at 40 and beyond, you don't need excessive amounts, because more calcium does not necessarily mean more benefit. Too much calcium may even be harmful to heart health. Most women can get the calcium they need
—1,000 mg a day for women 40 to 50, and 1,200 mg for women older than 50—by taking a supplement, as well as eating a well-rounded diet with calcium-rich foods like dairy, tofu, sardines, broccoli, almonds and spinach.
Magnesium is important for healthy bones. People with higher intakes of magnesium have a higher bone mineral density, critical for reducing the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. †
Boron, a trace mineral needed in only tiny amounts, is essential for healthy bones
. Studies have shown that 3 milligrams (mg) of boron daily reduces urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium, especially when dietary magnesium is low. †
K2’s main function is to direct calcium where it needs to go in the body, which is primarily the bones and the teeth. Studies suggest that vitamin K2 may protect your bones. K2 may also contribute to keeping your blood vessel walls healthy. †
Zinc is required for normal skeletal growth and bone homeostasis. It also appears to promote bone health. †
For heart health: Fish oils, vitamin E
Fish oils, also known as omega-3 fatty acids:
These fats are vital to your well-being, helping to support heart health. Fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines
, albacore tuna and salmon
, are a rich source of the omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Although more research is needed, many population studies have found that vitamin E may contribute to heart health. †
For hormone detoxification: Botanicals DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate for estrogen support
) is a compound that is created in the body when one digests cruciferous vegetables, can also be taken in supplement form. It can have far reaching, protective effects, including supporting the healthy metabolism and excretion of estrogens, supporting healthy breast tissue and supporting healthy cervical tissue. Additionally, DIM may promote healthy Phase II detoxification of the body. †
: D-Glucarate works synergistically with DIM to support healthy elimination of estrogenic compounds. †
For adrenal health: Rhodiola, American ginseng, ashwagandha
Rhodiola is an adaptogen—a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress—that can help maintain healthy cortisol levels during challenging situations. Too much cortisol (your primary stress hormone) depletes your nutrient reserves. It can also degrade memory and have devastating effects on your blood pressure, blood sugar and metabolism. Rhodiola can also support healthy energy levels and optimize concentration in those with adrenal fatigue. †
Ginseng has been used as an adaptogen and as a tonic for rejuvenation for centuries. Studies suggest
it demonstrates very effective regulation of stress, as compared with that shown by other adaptogens. †
is an herb that helps the body cope with stress by supporting healthy adrenal function. It is often used to balance stress hormones and support energy levels of those with adrenal fatigue. †
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.