A quality multivitamin is a good investment for just about anyone, but research shows that women might benefit from a multivitamin even more than men. Recent studies indicate that women 19 to 50 years old are most likely to experience some type of vitamin deficiency. Chances of a deficiency are compounded if a woman is pregnant or nursing and the risk is even greater if they do not currently use a multivitamin.
Why do women need vitamins even more than men? There are many reasons: hormonal, physiological, social. Here are a few:
Women are more prone to bone loss than men. In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of the 10 million Americans who suffer from osteoporosis are women. Supplemental calcium has long been used to keep bones strong and healthy. Women under 50 are generally recommended to get 1000 mg a day. It’s best absorbed in multiple small doses, ideally under 500 mg at a time.
By some estimates, women make up almost 80 percent of all vegans and nearly 60 percent of vegetarians. It’s generally accepted that vegans need to supplement with Vitamin B12, but followers of plant-based eating are also at risk for deficiencies of iron and zinc since plant-derived sources of these minerals are converted by the body at a lower rate than animal sources. Even omnivorous women are at risk for iron deficiency since women tend to lose iron through menstruation.
Research shows that over 40 percent of Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. It’s fair to say that women take better care of their skin than men and that can contribute to low levels of Vitamin D. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that twice as many women use sunscreen as men. While the sun is one of the leading causes of premature aging of the skin, it is also the best source of vitamin D. Unfortunately, sunscreen blocks Vitamin D just like it blocks harmful radiation.