As an active 43-year-old woman, I have started to feel the ramifications of my lifelong love of dance and movement. As an athlete and performer for over 40 years, I feel the overuse primarily in my knees when climbing stairs and putting my body’s weight on the joints. Today, I still dance and perform most physical movements without limit. However, I am starting to realize I need some supplemental support for my joints, muscle growth or maintenance, and recovery as a whole. In this article, I share 10 Daily supplements for women over 40.
Daily food and supplements
Below are a list of supplements I take or ones that have been widely suggested for women in their 40s.
Collagen is the primary building block of your body’s skin, muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. 30% of the human body is made up of collagen. Your body produces less collagen as you age, and existing collagen breaks down at a faster rate. For stronger hair, skin, and nails, as well as receding joint discomfort, add collagen to your supplement list. Collagen-rich food sources include fish, chicken, eggs, berries, and citrus.
2. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
BCAA are a group of three out of the nine essential amino acids that the human body can’t create on its own (without the help of nutrients ingested through our diets). These three amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. If you are a highly physically active individual and experience regular muscle soreness, add BCAAs to your diet. Regularly used by athletes, this supplement is key for inducing muscle growth and fighting fatigue in workouts. Find BCAAs in the following food sources: whey, milk and soy proteins, corn, beef, chicken, fish, and eggs.
Protein is also a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen in your blood and throughout your whole body. It also helps make antibodies that fight off infections and illnesses and helps keep cells healthy and create new ones. It also helps to maintain a healthy weight and build strong muscles. This is a non-negotiable macronutrient and supplemental need for women over 40. Protein-rich food sources include animal protein, dairy, legumes, seeds like quinoa, and fish.
4. Whole food multivitamin
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone. Also, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections, and reduce inflammation. When taking Vitamin D sublingually, the vitamin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream by the sublingual gland as well as the small capillaries that line the mouth and cheeks. Food sources for Vitamin D include cod liver oil, trout, salmon, mushrooms, or cow’s milk.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions. These are essential fatty acids meaning your body doesn’t produce them so you must acquire this mineral from a food source or supplement. Find Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
7. Magnesium citrate
Magnesium citrate is a good source of magnesium ions that are needed throughout the body. Often considered the “forgotten electrolyte”, magnesium is needed in every tissue in the body. It works with nucleic acids to produce energy, and it is involved in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate protein production, signal transmission in nerves and muscles, blood pressure, blood glucose, and other functions. Magnesium citrate causes the intestines to release water into the stool. This softens the stool and relieves constipation and irregularity. This supplement aids in digestion without the use of over-the-counter drugs.
In addition to improving sleep, melatonin is also involved in managing immune function, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. Plus, it acts as an antioxidant, with some research finding that it can significantly affect many health conditions. In fact, studies show that melatonin may improve eye health, reduce symptoms of seasonal depression and even provide relief from acid reflux. This non-habit-forming supplement is a welcomed alternative to Tylenol PM and other addictive sleep aids. Find melatonin in fish, eggs, mushrooms, nuts, and legumes.
Iron promotes healthy pregnancy, increased energy, and better athletic performance. Women’s bodies rely on iron in order to support several key bodily functions, including bolstering a healthy immune system, maintaining energy levels, and transporting oxygen via red blood cells. Iron also plays a key role in supporting our immune system, metabolism, and cognitive function. Low iron levels can leave a person feeling fatigued and muddled.
Since most women over 40 years old are not having babies, our age group needs iron for energy throughout the day. If you are still menstruating and you are in your 40s, it’s common that your periods are heavier as you age. That means you are losing more blood and probably feeling quite sluggish during your period. Women need significantly more iron than men. Consume iron-rich foods like beef or chicken liver, muscles, oysters, cooked beef, sardines in oil, and spinach.
Finally, this is the last of the 10 Daily supplements for women over 40 and one of the most important. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. Probiotics are known to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and diarrhea. Probiotics also help with eczema and cold prevention. Probiotic food sources are fermented foods like kombucha, yogurt, kifer, sauerkraut, tamper, and kimchi.
These foods, vitamins, or mineral supplements are simply suggestions. Before you begin taking any supplement outside of food, always discuss it with your doctor or medical provider in case there are contradictions with your current medication prescription. Secondly, our bodies have individual needs so your vitamin or mineral deficiencies differ and the list will look different for you. The best plan of attack in understanding your current vitamin or mineral supplemental needs is a simple blood and urinalysis test. Knowledge is power as we age.