Micronutrients have a substantial impact on a woman’s health throughout her entire life. Every woman needs a constant, balanced, and adequate supply of all essential nutrients throughout her lifetime.
Many women do not get enough of the micronutrients they need, however. Both in the U.S. and worldwide, inadequate intakes are far too common. Deficiencies of the following
nutrients are particularly common:
• Vitamin D • B vitamins • Calcium
• Zinc • Iron
In addition to low dietary intake, other factors can contribute to micronutrient deficiencies,
• genetic factors
• poor absorption
• drug-nutrient interactions
• acute and chronic health conditions
• normal processes of aging
The fact is that many women cannot get adequate amounts of some nutrients without supplementing their diets.
Research Shows the Importance of Micronutrients to Women’s Health
Breast health issues are one of the most common reasons why women consult their health care practitioners. Research suggests that several micronutrients play key roles in breast health, including iodine, B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C.2–4 Uterine and Ovarian Health
Micronutrient status plays a major role in the overall health and function of the uterus and ovaries, which can be affected by a variety of health issues. Research suggests that supplementation with B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D may support uterine and ovarian health.
Menstrual Cycle Health
Many women experience physical and emotional challenges relating to their menstrual cycle, and research suggests that several micronutrients support a healthy menstrual cycle—including increased B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc.7–9 Urinary Tract Health Women are at greater risk for urinary tract health issues than men. Statistically at least one-third of American women will develop urinary tract health issues, which also become more frequent with age. Recent research found that adequate vitamin D intake may protect against urinary health issues.
Anxiety and Mental Health
Mental health challenges are much more prevalent in women than men, and research continues to investigate the importance of vitamins and minerals for mental health. Higher intakes of vitamin D and magnesium have been associated with improved mental health and function.11,12
Birth Control / Contraceptives
Oral contraceptives have been shown to lower levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc in the body, causing researchers to recommend that women taking contraceptives should pay close attention to
their vitamin and mineral intake and consider supplementation.
Conception and Pregnancy Many women know the importance of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, but recent research also emphasizes the importance of micronutrient status in the time period before conception. Micronutrient deficiencies can also negatively impact fertility. B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, antioxidants, iron, and vitamin A have been shown to be key nutrients in fertility and maternal, fetal, and infant health.
Postpartum mood challenges are common—affecting at least 12–16% of mothers. Studies have linked low intakes of micronutrients with increased incidence of mood issues, and have suggested that supplementation can help maintain healthy mood in postpartum women. B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, and magnesium have been suggested to promote healthy mood. Menopausal and Bone Health
Menopause can affect women’s nutritional needs, and research has shown that B vitamins and vitamin D are particularly important. Minerals are also crucial after menopause, since one of the most significant changes associated with perimenopause and post menopause is a decrease in mineral
levels, which can negatively impact bone health in particular. Magnesium, zinc, and calcium are all important minerals to support postmenopausal bone health.
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