Vitamins and Women Over 40
Maintain a youthful look with these basic vitamins.
By Julie Alvira, MD, MBA
So, 40 is the new 20, right? You bet! In order to maintain a youthful look, a woman has to take care of herself, not only emotionally but also physically. She needs to make sure her nutrition is in check. For that, let’s start with what vitamins should be included for proper nutrition.
Vitamin D serum levels are tested to look for deficiency. According to John Hopkins Hospital, low levels of vitamin D can play as a risk factor for heart disease. It’s not the only cause, of course, but it’s linked to it, as well as, a risk factor for stroke, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Adequate levels are important. After age 40, it can help with bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and depression. A little bit of sun exposure can help increase your vitamin D. Eating foods containing vitamin D, like fatty fish and low-fat dairy, can also help.
Along with vitamin D, calcium for bone health is important. It’s not just a mineral to strengthen the bones, it also aids in providing protection against high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. When estrogen levels start to decline, women are more prone to thinning and weakened bones. Why? When women don’t have an adequate amount of this mineral, the body starts to take it from the bones causing them to become weak. Help your body by ingesting legumes, dried fruit (can be a bit high on sugar), leafy greens, and other foods rich in calcium.
*Also important are tendons, ligaments, and joints, which can benefit from the ingestion of glucosamine.
Continuing with the topic of stronger bones and preventing diseases, comes folic acid (a form of folate). Folic acid is a B vitamin and water-soluble. Let’s remember that fat-soluble vitamins (such as, A, D, E, ad K) are stored in the body, but water-soluble vitamins should be ingested on a daily basis. If folate is ingested with vitamin D, the absorption increases. If taken with caffeine or iron, the absorption decreases. Folate is needed for the formation of genetic materials DNA and RNA. It acts at the cellular level, making it an important factor of synthesis and repair. Are you getting enough folate? If not, you can find it in fruits, orange juice, whole grains, beef liver, eggs, seafood, nuts, and beans. Women over 40 can combat weakness, fatigue, depression, and headache with adequate amounts of this vitamin. Some research has shown that it may help with cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease but that’s still under study. Let’s not forget that folate is extremely important for pregnancy.
Well, I already mentioned one of the vitamins in the complex which is folic acid (B9). Others are: B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B12 (Cobalamin). Each of the vitamins are of significant importance on their own but in general, the complex helps with: health of the brain, muscles, red blood cell production, nervous system, hormone productions, reactions in the body, immune function, increased energy, and other numerous uses. You can find them in whole grain products, beans, tuna, nuts, chicken, beef, potatoes, legumes, certain fruits, certain seeds, leafy greens, avocado, and dairy products. Deficiency of the complex causes tiredness, anemia, depression, abdominal pain, cramps, and hair loss. A lot of people use vitamin B12 shots when they feel tired, follow a vegetarian or vegan eating plan, suffer from celiac disease, or as part of an anti aging program. Be careful because excessive amounts of B12 can also impair kidney function.
Other important supplements: omega 3 fatty acids (as in fish oil), probiotics (gut health), magnesium (helps with blood pressure and to maintain strong bones), lutein (eye health), and vitamin C (immune system and healing process). Still in research is turmeric, for helping as an anti-inflammatory.
A woman over 40 should consider the above plus pay attention to her body in terms of food intolerance such as dairy and gluten. She should reduce the intake of unhealthy carbohydrates which can cause inflammation and reduce sugary foods (breaks collagen). Unhealthy carbohydrates and sugary foods don’t help for lean muscle formation. Women should also add an exercise regimen that includes strength training and cardio at least three times per week, consume foods with fiber (control blood sugar levels), find ways to reduce stress, practice self-care, and get enough sleep.
“Everything in moderation.” –– Iska Lawrence
Julie Alvira, MD, MBA. www.coachdrjulie.com. Dr. Julie is a Certified Life Coach for men and women but has a passion for Women Recovery from Addictions. Creator of Your Recovery Gal program for women. Nationally Certified Addictions Professional. firstname.lastname@example.org. Bilingual virtual or in office session.