I'm a young woman with a fast-paced life and a heavy traveling schedule. Sometimes that takes a toll on healthful eating habits. Can supplements help compensate?
Supplements can never substitute for a healthful diet based on whole foods. This is really important to remember. That said, it certainly makes sense to take a multivitamin (with iron if you are a menstruating woman) as a safety net for a less than ideal diet. I recommend taking a basic multivitamin with 100 percent of daily recommended doses, but not megadoses, of vitamins. This allows you to add higher doses of specific vitamins if there is a rationale to do so, and it avoids the risk of being on high doses from multiple sources—a situation I see very frequently.
As a young woman, the additional supplements you may want to consider include calcium (500 milligrams twice a day) and magnesium (200 mg twice a day), both for bone health and for menstrual symptoms. Most gynecologists are unaware, as I was, of research showing that calcium and magnesium can significantly alleviate many symptoms of PMS and cramping. Also, vitamin B6 (50 mg a day) or a B complex can help with some of the mood swings. Do not take more than 100 mg a day, as this can in rare cases cause neurological symptoms.
The two additional things to consider: a supplement with omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil—the typical American diet is deficient in omega-3s compared with omega-6s—and vitamin D3.We are learning of more and more people in the United States who are deficient in vitamin D. You can ask your doctor to check your blood level, or you can simply supplement your diet with 1,000 to 2,000 IUs a day; that level is safe. And do remember: Following a healthful diet based on whole foods and rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your body!
Health Advice Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for the general information of the reader and to help patients become better informed to consult with their own physician. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship, and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating… Read more >>