What vitamin supplements should a 30 year old woman take? This post shares information and recommendations for women of child-bearing age.
Do You Wonder Which Vitamins You Should Be Taking?
I often get asked questions about supplements, including which vitamins women should be taking. The world of supplements can be overwhelming since there are so many to choose from! Most people don’t know where to start, so that’s why I’m offering my thoughts on which vitamins women might want to consider.
Disclaimer: As always, please do consult your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet or supplement routine.
Why Vitamin Supplements Are Needed
As a clean eating specialist, I always recommend starting with a diet rich in nutrient-dense, organic, real foods as the basis of a healthy lifestyle. However, for many women, diet alone may not be enough.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to add vitamins and supplements to your healthy lifestyle routine. We got through so many phases in our life that demand varying levels of nutrients. So many women are overcoming health issues. Some women are experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy or perimenopause. Some women have genetic variations and feel better when they supplement with certain methylated vitamins.
Then there’s the soil in which our crops are grown. Today’s soil is more depleted of vitamins and minerals than it was generations ago due to modern farming practices, even if it is certified organic.
That’s why I’ve chosen to focus on what supplements would be ideal for a woman in her 30s to take. This article is appropriate for most women in our child-bearing years and I’ll be doing a future post on recommended supplements for women over 50 soon.
Also, fyi, today’s post is sponsored by one of my favorite online resources for health foods and supplements, Vitacost.com (some affiliate links included)!
Special Considerations for Women in Our Childbearing Years
Women are generally considered to be of childbearing age between our late teens to late 40s, so we need to factor in special considerations when deciding which vitamin supplements to take.
Some of the ways vitamins and supplements can benefit our health include:
- supporting hormonal and thyroid balance
- preventing anemia from menstruation or childbirth
- and replenishing vitamins and minerals that have been depleted due to birth control, other medications, life stressors, exercise, food choices, and more.
Here’s a basic overview of what I consider the best vitamins and minerals for a woman in her 30s, or any woman of childbearing age. I’ve done my best to pick products that are all gluten-free and dairy-free, with a minimal amount of fillers and excess nutrients.
1. B-Vitamin Supplementation for Energy & Mood
B-Vitamins: The various B-vitamins are important cofactors for many body processes. B-vitamins are most often associated with having energy, but they’re actually important for mood and preventing depression too!
It’s estimated that nearly 40% of the population has an MTHFR genetic mutation. Most people who have this genetic mutation don’t know they have it, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it does compromise B-vitamin absorption and usage.
For this reason, I actually recommend that women consuming B-vitamins opt for the methylated kind. One way to spot a methylated B-complex is to turn the label over to the ingredients list and look for the form of B-12 that says methylcobalamin. Don’t use a B-complex that says cyanocobalamin. This form is not methylated and may do more harm than good if you’re one of the estimated 40% of women with the MTHFR gene mutation.
B-vitamins are water-soluble so what you don’t use will just get washed out of your body. That said, it’s important to find a quality B-vitamin brand that doesn’t have a ton of fillers or extra ingredients, in addition to having the most absorbable forms of B-vitamins.
Recommended B-Vitamins Brands:
2. Iron Supplementation to Prevent Anemia & Low Iron Stores
Iron: Anemia is the most common nutritional disorder worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of non-pregnant women are anemic and 40% of pregnant women are anemic, meaning that people do not have enough iron in their diets.
Being anemic can cause tiredness, insomnia, restless leg, headaches, and overall loss of energy. Most women don’t know that even being low in iron stores and not technically anemic can result in symptoms, including hair loss and low energy.
It is likely that most menstruating, pregnant, or postnatal women are low in iron stores, so it’s vitally important to have your ferritin level checked on a blood test ordered by your doctor, and then to supplement with iron if your levels aren’t between 40-70 mcg/L. I recommend checking your ferritin levels at least once a year, if not more often, because there are health risks involved with both under- and over-supplementing with iron.
Be sure to take your iron supplement with food to prevent stomach upset, and it’s also a good idea to take it at a different time of day than when you take your calcium supplement, and any thyroid hormone replacement.
Recommended Iron Supplement Brands:
- Vitacost Chelated Iron – Albion® Ferrous Bisglycinate Chelate 18 mg or
- Kirkman Iron Bio-Max Series — 5 mg
3. Vitamin D for Immune Health & So Much More
Vitamin D: There’s a vitamin D deficiency epidemic among all Americans, both men and women. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we can generally make it from exposure to sunlight. However, many of us are covering up or lathering on the SPF to block UV rays. There are also many of us who work indoors quite a bit and don’t have access to enough sunshine daily. Heck, even where you live can determine how much exposure to sunlight you can get throughout the year.
Vitamin D actually acts more like a hormone than a nutrient in the body. It’s been called the key that unlocks so many important functions in the body. Not only is vitamin D important for absorbing calcium, but a deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to various disorders such as certain cancers, autoimmune disorders and mood disorders.
A simple blood test called a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test can tell you if you have a deficiency. If your score on this test shows vitamin D levels less than 40, it is best to supplement with extra vitamin D. Your doctor will have a recommendation for how much vitamin D you should take based on your current levels. Once you start supplementing with vitamin D, it’s a good idea to re-test your levels in about 6-8 weeks, and then every 6 months or so thereafter.
Recommended Vitamin D brands:
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Mood and Inflammation
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The fatty acids from omega-3s (DHA and EPA) are considered essential fatty acids. This means that our bodies cannot produce them on their own, so we need to get them from food or supplements. Salmon and other cold water fatty fish are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. However, supplementation is often recommended to ensure we’re getting enough of these essential fatty acids.
Several studies have shown omega 3 fatty acids to benefit us by fighting depression and anxiety, improving eye health, reducing risk factors of heart disease, controlling symptoms of ADHD in children, reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and fighting chronic inflammation.
Krill oil is a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than regular fish oil, and is the type of omega-3 fatty acid I take myself.
Recommended Omega-3 Fatty Acid brand:
5. Magnesium Supplementation Can Improve PMS Symptoms & Anxiety
An estimated 70-90% of the US population is deficient in magnesium. The main reasons are not eating enough unprocessed foods, magnesium depletion in the soil, and the over-consumption of processed foods that block magnesium absorption.
This mineral is an important one because our bodies depend on it as a cofactor for over 300 bodily processes. People with magnesium deficiency may experience muscle cramps, unexplained fatigue, mood disorders, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, and muscle weakness. You can read another article on my site that talks about how magnesium supplementation can benefit anxiety, insomnia, migraines and PMS symptoms.
There are many forms of magnesium. I generally recommend magnesium glycinate as the overall best form since this is the one that most people can absorb and use best. For constipation and restlessness at night, magnesium citrate can be helpful.
Recommended brands of magnesium supplements:
- Vitacost Tranquility Magnesium Supplement (magnesium citrate)
- Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (glycinate)
6. Probiotics to Support Gut Health
Probiotics: Many women have taken at least several rounds of antibiotics by the time we reach our 30s. Antibiotic consumption can disrupt the gut microbiome and can lead to leaky gut and other serious conditions. Other factors can disrupt the gut microbiome include eating a diet too low in healthy fat, eating a diet high in processed foods, food sensitivities or allergies, and stress.
Probiotic supplementation is helpful because these “friendly” bacteria help to keep our guts healthy. Other benefits of probiotic consumption include reduced occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, infections of the digestive tract, and eczema.
Recommended probiotic supplement:
7. Calcium + K2 to Protect Bone Health
Calcium + K2: Calcium is important for bone health. Our muscles and nerves also need calcium to function optimally. Calcium has also been shown to protect against certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Some women may require extra calcium supplementation if they avoid calcium rich foods (such as dairy products) or know they are at higher risk for osteoporosis.
Calcium supplementation is tricky. If not done properly, calcium supplementation can put you at risk for kidney stones, hardened blood vessels, and heart disease. For this reason, I generally recommend that women who are supplementing with calcium take an added K2 supplement along with it.
Vitamin K2 has been shown to help calcium go where it’s intended to go, such as the bones. Other K2 benefits are that it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and varicose veins, help regulate blood sugar, improve exercise performance, help with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and prevent kidney stones.
Recommended Calcium & K2 brand (this one also has vitamin D3):
8. Start taking a Prenatal Before You Get Pregnant
Prenatal: Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins specifically formulated for women of childbearing age. Prenatals contain more folate and iron than a standard multivitamin since these are vitamins needed for better baby development. The iron boost will also help prevent anemia from blood loss during delivery. It’s important to look for a prenatal that contains good levels of zinc, copper, iodine and vitamin D as well. And, please don’t buy prenatals that contain folic acid, look for folate instead.
Some recommendations of quality prenatal vitamins include (don’t take additional iron unless advised by your doctor, since these prenatal vitamins contain iron too):
How to Manage Your Vitamin Supplements
Those are my top 8 vitamins for a women in her 30s, or any woman in her child-bearing years. Of course, we’re all individuals, so you might take fewer or more depending on a number of factors. I tried to include a good mix of brands that meet my standards for both quality and price. In many cases, you get what you pay for when it comes to supplements, so it’s a good idea to read the labels.
Also, since we’re talking about taking a minimum of eight different vitamins a day, I recommend buying a weekly supplement box that you refill at the beginning of each week. This makes it SO much easier to manage the various vitamin supplements. I like this weekly supplement box with pretty colored boxes for each day.
Here are some commonly-asked questions regarding vitamin supplements for women in their 30s.
How do I chose a vitamin brand? You get what you pay for! This is especially true in the world of supplements. If you want higher quality supplements, you need to expect to pay a little bit more. I don’t usually recommend vitamins from big box stores or local drug stores. If you’re sensitive to gluten, soy, dairy, or any other allergens, be sure to read the label for those, as well.
What is the best natural supplement brand? There are several brands that do things right. They use natural ingredients with very little or no fillers. See my list above for my favorite brand recommendations!
When should I take my vitamins? Supplement companies put recommendations for usage on their product labels. It’s best to follow their guidelines. I generally recommend that most supplements be taken with meals unless stated otherwise.
Vitamins like A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and are best absorbed when consumed with a meal that contains a bit of healthy fat. If you take these vitamins on an empty stomach, they are less likely to be absorbed.
If you’re taking a separate B-complex supplement, then this one is better to take on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. B-vitamins are water soluble. Some people can get an upset stomach when taking vitamins on an empty stomach. To avoid this, make sure you are taking these vitamins with at least 8 ounces of water, if not more. And then wait at least 30 minutes to consume anything else.
I also don’t recommend taking supplements with caffeinated beverages since caffeine is a diuretic. Caffeine may prevent the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Giving yourself a 60-minute buffer between supplementation and caffeine consumption can ensure better absorption.
If I eat a healthy diet, do I really need to take vitamins? Vitamin and mineral supplementation is highly individualized. A very limited number of people may not require extra supplementation if they’re eating a very healthy diet full of whole, unprocessed foods.
Gut health status also determines what vitamins supplementation you might need. If someone has optimal stomach acid levels and no risk of leaky gut, then supplementation may not be necessary. However, the majority of women in their 30s do not have optimal digestion due to medications, caffeine consumption, low stomach acid, genetic mutations, past diet choices, hormonal status, and/or stress.
Modern farming practices have also depleted soil of the amount of vitamins and minerals it once contained. So even if you’re eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, these crops may not be as nutritionally dense as they once were generations ago.
When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin?
It’s best to start prenatal supplementation before you conceive. It’s a good idea for any woman of reproductive age to take a prenatal, even if she isn’t planning to conceive anytime soon. It’s safe to take prenatals during your entire pregnancy and beyond.
Because prenatals contain higher doses of certain vitamins, some women may experience queasiness after taking them. If you experience this, make sure you are taking your prenatal with meals and plenty of water. It’s not safe to double up on prenatal consumption because of the higher doses of certain vitamins. Too much vitamin A can cause liver toxicity.
The Eight Vitamin Supplements for a 30-Year Old Woman
- Methylated B-vitamins
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Calcium + K2
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