Supporting healthy women through supplementation  

International Women’s day is celebrated annually on the 8th of March. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. We believe that this should include the bias in access to a healthy, balanced diet. This blog article will, therefore, talk about food supplements that are especially recommended for women. 

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women (1). One objective of this year’s celebrations is, “To assist women to be in a position of power to make informed decisions about their health” (2).  

As a leading food supplement manufacturer, we support this objective. This is why we, at PlantaCorp, would like to give women the power of information on women-specific food supplements. We believe that armed with such information, women will be able to decide for themselves, if they require supplementation and what form of supplementation best suits them.  

Mineral supplements for women’s health 

Iron to combat anemia 

Iron is a micronutrient that has macro-consequences on our health. It contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism and thus to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue (3). It is also important for the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Through this, iron contributes to oxygen transport in the body. 

Why is iron supplementation important in women?  

Anemia is a condition in which blood contains fewer red blood cells or lower hemoglobin levels than normal. According to the Global Nutrition report, not a single country in the European region is on course to meet the targets for anemia in women of reproductive age (aged 15 to 49 years) (4). This is in spite of anemia affecting an estimated 17.9% of European women. This is not far behind the global average of one in three (29.9%) women affected. 

Anemia that is caused due to an iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia. It can be detected by findings of red blood cells that are smaller and paler in color than normal, or by a hemoglobin level lower than 11.6 to 15 g/dL for women (5). This most often happens when a woman loses too much blood during heavy or long menstrual periods, has frequent nosebleeds, bleeding from uterine fibroids or certain intrauterine devices.  

Iron deficiency anemia is usually corrected with iron supplementation. PlantaCorp’s liquid liposomal iron supplement may be especially helpful because it is 398-times more bioavailable than powdered non-liposomal iron (the form that comes in tablets or pills). Further, our iron formulation was found to be 9-times more bioavailable than a competitor’s non-liposomal, high-dose iron bisgluconate-vitamin C combination product. 

Contact us today to find out more about our White Label Iron formulation. 

Magnesium for period support 

Did you know that the cramps, anxiety, constipation, sore muscles, sleep difficulties, and other unpleasant symptoms accompanying menstruation could also be a sign of a magnesium (Mg) deficiency? (6). Magnesium is also important for the health of our bones and teeth (3).  

However, chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium content, and the availability of refined and processed foods, put a vast majority of people at a risk for magnesium deficiency (7). In fact, it was found that about 20% of the population consumes less than two-thirds of the RDA for Mg. Women, in particular, have low intakes. For example, in France, 23% of women have inadequate Mg intakes (7). This increases the risk of heart disease. 

How is liposomal magnesium beneficial? 

A daily 300 mg magnesium intake is deemed adequate for adult women (8).  However, as mentioned above, our modern day diet alone cannot provide us with this daily recommended dose. A subclinical magnesium deficiency is, therefore, easily remedied with magnesium supplementation. 

You can read more about liposomal technology on our website or in our blog post. 

PlantaCorp’s liquid liposomal magnesium was found to be 5.18-times more bioavailable than a competitor’s powdered non-liposomal product. This is because liposomal encapsulation protects the destruction of magnesium by digestive juices and increases the intestinal retention time. This leads to more magnesium being absorbed and delivered to our blood stream. 

Women’s vitamins  

Data from over 15,000 people in the USA found that the risk of deficiencies in vitamin B6 and vitamin D was most common in women ages 19–50 (9). In this section, we will discuss why these two vitamins are so important to women’s health. 

Vitamin D for bone health 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be produced by our skin when it is exposed to sunlight. However, women with higher concentrations of melanin in the skin are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D (10). This is partly because melanin blocks the UVB sunlight needed to produce vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D supplementation is, therefore, recommended for women of color, and those who spend most time indoors or live at a high latitude. 

What are the health benefits of vitamin D? 

Vitamin D is important for the absorption/utilization of calcium and phosphorus (3). This is in turn, necessary, for the health of our bones and teeth. Falling is a risk factor for bone fractures among men and women 60 years of age and older (3). An adequate intake of vitamin D, therefore, helps to reduce the risk of falling associated with postural instability and muscle weakness.  

Vitamin D also helps in the function of the immune system (3).  

Finally, vitamin D supplements have been shown to support vaginal health and decrease vaginal dryness, especially during menopause (11).  

Why do we use vitamin D3 in our supplements? 

Although vitamin D comes in the form of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, the latter is found to be more effective at improving serum vitamin D status (12). For example, one study in 32 older women found that a single dose of vitamin D3 was nearly twice as effective as vitamin D2 at raising active vitamin D levels. 

This is why our liquid liposomal vitamin D formulation contains only vitamin D3. Further, a two-group randomized controlled trial showed that PlantaCorp’s liposomal vitamin D3 was 12.84-times more bioavailable than a non-liposomal product. 

Vitamin B6 for overall health  

This water-soluble vitamin contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity, production of energy, red blood cell formation and normal psychological function, to name a few (3).  

The average requirement of vitamin B6 for an adult woman is 1.3 mg/day, although concentrations up to 25 mg/day are well tolerated (8). This is easily found in fish, organ meats, starchy vegetables and non-citrus fruits (13).  

Even so, about 28% – 36% of the general population uses supplements containing vitamin B6. This is especially true of adults aged 51 years and older because of interference from medications or due to an imbalanced diet.  

There is also some evidence to indicate that vitamin B6 supplements could reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (13). Its potential effectiveness in alleviating the mood-related symptoms of PMS could be due to its role as a cofactor in neurotransmitter biosynthesis.  

What are the signs of a vitamin B6 deficiency? 

Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with microcytic anemia (smaller than normal red blood cells), scaling on the lips and cracks at the corners of the mouth, depression and confusion, and weakened immune function (13).  

Special considerations about vitamin supplementation in women 

Although we have highlighted vitamins D3 and B6 here, there are several other vitamins that are necessary for women to stay healthy.  

For example, it has been found that women who smoke need an extra 35 mg of vitamin C per day (14). 

Studies have also shown that postmenopausal and older women are more likely to become deficient in vitamins A, C, D, K, B12, folate, B6, B1, and B2 (10). This is because some medications can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb these vitamins.  

Finally, it has been found that women with obesity are at greater risk of vitamin deficiencies, including B12 and vitamin D (10).  

Do take these age and lifestyle choices into account while considering vitamin supplementation. 

Botanicals supporting women’s health 

Ashwagandha for sexual wellness 

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for several centuries. It is scientifically known as Withania somnifera and commonly referred to as Indian ginseng. The extract from the root of this plant is especially studied for its therapeutic benefits.  

How does Ashwagandha support women’s health? 

We have previously mentioned how this Indian herb has stress-relieving (15) and energizing effects. Traditionally, it has also been used to improve muscle mass and increase overall strength in both men and women (16).  

Recent scientific interest in this botanical supplement has shown that Ashwagandha can improve the sexual health of women by increasing arousal and desire (17). Supplementation twice daily (300 mg/capsule for 8 weeks) also lead to increased lubrication and sexual satisfaction.  

Studies in animals and humans have also indicated that it may be beneficial for women with hypothyroidism (17). This is achieved by increasing TSH, T3, and T4 thyroid hormone levels. 

Due to its antioxidant and stress-relieving effects, Ashwagandha may also help one age more gracefully and improve your quality of life. 

Why liposomal Ashwagandha? 

In a previous blog post, we explained why liposomal encapsulation of Ashwagandha may increase its bioavailability. We also provided references to scientific studies that prove this. 

Our white label Ashwagandha formulation contains 200 mg of Ashwagandha per daily dose. It also contains vitamin E which bolsters the anti-oxidant effects of this herb.  

OPC for beauty 

OPCs or oligomeric proanthocyanidins, are a class of plant-derived chemicals. They are most commonly extracted from the seeds of grapes (18).  

OPCs are gaining ground in the beauty sector due to their anti-oxidant and skin hydrating properties. A clinical study with 42 individuals indicated that a dietary supplement containing OPCs (100 mg/day) could reduce UV-induced inflammation of the skin (19). The same study also found that skin hydration was higher in the group taking the dietary supplement. Well hydrated skin prevents wrinkling and aging. 

An OPC supplement was also found to promote healthy gums. Its anti-inflammatory properties helped reduce bleeding (20).  

Grape seed extract is generally well tolerated when taken in moderate amounts (18). It has been tested safely for up to 11 months in human studies. 

Is there really a need for gender-specific supplementation? 

Yes! As outlined in our blog article on supplements supporting men’s health, the differences in hormones, reproductive organs, and fat and muscle mass, leads to men and women having their specific nutritional requirements. Even with nutrients that are required by both sexes, the daily recommended doses are almost always different for men and women. Further, according to the World Bank, the human and economic costs of malnutrition fall hardest on the poor, women, and children (21). Finally, due to the fluctuations in reproductive hormones in women depending on their age, supplementation requirements also differ accordingly.  

Gender-specific and age-specific diets and supplementation are therefore, the need of the hour.  

Please note that supplements are not a replacement for a poor diet. Food supplements are only meant to augment a balanced diet. They should only be taken upon consultation with your primary care physician. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions. This is especially true of pregnant and breastfeeding women.  

The market for women’s supplements 

A 2015 global consumer trends survey revealed that supplementation is very common among under 30s females (22). As many as 71% of this group said they take health supplements or vitamins. However, there is still scope for women-specific supplement products. For example, in the UK, only 23% of multivitamins are targeted at women (22). 

It was also reported that the consumption of health supplements seems to increase with age. 

The Global Women Health & Beauty Supplements Market size was estimated at USD 50 674.30 million in 2020 (23). This segment is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.10% to reach USD 85 461.47 million by 2026. 

Talk to us today and see how you can support women’s health with liposomal formulations. 

Key takeaways 

  • 17.9% of European women suffer from anemia. Iron supplements can treat iron-deficiency anemia. They can also reduce tiredness and fatigue.  
  • Magnesium supplementation can relieve the unpleasant symptoms accompanying menstruation. Magnesium also supports bone, teeth and heart health. 
  • Vitamin D supports bone, immune and vaginal health. Consider using vitamin D3 supplements. 
  • 28% – 36% of the general population uses supplements containing vitamin B6. It is especially useful to reduce symptoms of PMS in women. 
  • Ashwagandha has been studied for its sexual wellness properties in women. 
  • OPCs from grape seed extracts have anti-oxidant and skin hydrating properties even when taken as a dietary supplement. 
  • The Global Women Health & Beauty Supplements Market is expected to grow to USD 85 461.47 million by 2026. 

References

  1. [Online] [Cited: 03 01, 2022.] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/.
  2. [Online] [Cited: 03 01, 2022.] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Mission/Health.
  3. EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods (v.3.6). EFSA. [Online] [Cited: 11 10, 2021.] https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/register/public/?event=register.home.
  4. [Online] [Cited: 03 01, 2022.] https://globalnutritionreport.org/resources/nutrition-profiles/europe/.
  5. [Online] [Cited: 03 02, 2022.] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355040.
  6. [Online] [Cited: 03 02, 2022.] https://www.betternutrition.com/supplements/best-vitamins-for-women/.
  7. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. 1, s.l. : Open Heart, 2018, Vol. 5.
  8. Dietary Reference Values for the EU. EFSA. [Online] [Cited: 11 12, 2021.] https://multimedia.efsa.europa.eu/drvs/index.htm.
  9. Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States. Bird JK, Murphy RA, Ciappio ED, McBurney MI. 7, s.l. : Nutrients, 2017 , Vol. 9.
  10. [Online] [Cited: 03 01, 2022.] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-women#vitamin-needs-throughout-life.
  11. Effect of Vitamin D on the Vaginal Health of Menopausal Women: A Systematic Review. Riazi H, Ghazanfarpour M, Taebi M, Abdolahian S. 3, s.l. : J Menopausal Med., 2019, Vol. 25.
  12. [Online] [Cited: 03 02, 2022.] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d2-vs-d3#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5.
  13. [Online] [Cited: 03 02, 2022.] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/.
  14. Vitamin C fact sheet. NIH: ODS. [Online] [Cited: 03 01, 2022.] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/.
  15. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. s.l. : Medicine (Baltimore), 2019 .
  16. [Online] [Cited: 12 15, 2021.] https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/article/Experiment-with-Ashwagandha/2451.
  17. [Online] [Cited: 03 03, 2022.] https://www.dynamicwife.com/ashwagandha-benefits-for-women/.
  18. [Online] [Cited: 03 03, 2022.] https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/grape-seed-extract.
  19. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin-Hydrating Properties of a Dietary Supplement and Topical Formulations Containing Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins. Hughes-Formella B, Wunderlich O, Williams R. s.l. : Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2007, Vol. 20.
  20. A Prospective, Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial in the Gingivitis Prevention with an Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin Nutritional Supplement. Díaz Sánchez RM, Castillo-Dalí G, Fernández-Olavarría A, Mosquera-Pérez R, Delgado-Muñoz JM, Gutiérrez-Pérez JL, Torres-Lagares D. s.l. : Mediators Inflamm, 2017.
  21. [Online] [Cited: 03 01, 2022.] https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/nutrition/overview#1.
  22. [Online] [Cited: 03 03, 2022.] https://www.euromonitor.com/young-womens-health-global-attitudes-towards-health-fitness-and-wellbeing-among-the-under-30/report.
  23. [Online] [Cited: 03 03, 2022.] https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5337144/women-health-and-beauty-supplements-market#src-pos-1.