Top Five Supplements for Women
11 December 2012
Top Five Supplements for Women
When it comes to health, women tend to be ahead of the game.
More and more women are choosing the preventative path and taking supplements. However, as scientific evidence continues to emerge it has become more difficult to decide which supplements are best.
Many supplements are designed for specific conditions but for overall prevention and health maintenance Dr Bob Corish, medical doctor, author and lecturer says there are five that should be top of the list.
“In a demanding world where the role of women has become more stress-filled and dynamic it is increasingly difficult to achieve a balanced lifestyle. One area where women can have a direct impact on their health is by making smart nutritional choices – in both quality and quantity,” says Dr Corish.
Dr Corish’s Top Five Supplements for Women:
A good multivitamin is important to cover any of the essential nutrients missing from our diet – particularly when one considers our current digital world, with high stress, fast food, and “text me” lifestyles. Today, food is so over-processed and sterilized that we often end up with ‘empty calories’ - stripped clean of any nutritional value. Therefore, it is not only important to select a woman’s multivitamin but to also select one based upon her age and health status, i.e. - Young women, pregnant women and post menopausal women all require different nutrients during the various stages of their life.
2. Omega - 3 Fatty acids
Omega -3 fatty acids have to be included in a woman’s health portfolio. Obtained from fish oils or through plant sources, they have been clinically proven to lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, improve mental status (particularly depression) and improve irregular heartbeats. Omega-3s were discovered over forty years ago but have only established themselves in the last decade as they continue to demonstrate positive health effects in arthritis, cardiovascular and brain health, including dementia and strokes.
These friendly microbes live in our gut and help protect us from toxic materials such as pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and other additives that enter our body through foods and medications. Among other things, Probiotics prevent bad bugs (particularly Candida) from taking up residency in our digestive tract, denying them access to our system. It is particularly important to re-establish Probiotics following a course of antibiotics which wipe out the good bugs as well as the bad bugs and can leave the digestive tract unprotected and vulnerable to attack. It is estimated that between 1-2 kg of Probiotics live in our body - they provide an important barrier of defence for our immune system.
4. Vitamin D
There is so much compelling data and research emerging about Vitamin D that it just can’t be ignored. Many disease states including cancer have been linked with low levels of Vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is essential for cardiovascular health, strong bones and mental health. Although we can manufacture Vitamin D in our skin from direct sunlight the risk of skin cancer, particularly in New Zealand, becomes a serious concern. Therefore the best sources of Vitamin D should be consumed via foods (fish, soy, mushrooms and cod liver oil) or in a Vitamin D supplement.
Curcumin is an extract from the curry spice, turmeric (approximately 5% of turmeric is composed of curcumin). It is a plant based compound that has been used as an anti-inflammatory in India for thousands of years. Through clinical trials, curcumin has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. The latest research suggests that curcumin may also play a beneficial role in brain health – in particular with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, curcumin has been associated with anti-cancer activity in breast and colon cancers – two of the most common cancers seen in New Zealand women.
Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Natural Products New Zealand says robust research here and overseas continues to provide strong science based evidence of the therapeutic benefits of taking various supplements.
“Unfortunately, not all diets are created equally. While the best way to get vitamins and minerals is through your food, given our modern diet and lifestyles, many people are lacking in essential nutrients and need supplementation to maintain good health, provide relief from a range of health issues and keep our bodies functioning at optimum levels,” says Mrs Palmer. “We are seeing more and more supplements being supported by strong research evidence that backs their effectiveness and safety.”