7 Important Micronutrients for Ladies

You can’t go wrong by taking a multivitamin / mineral supplement every day. However, if you’re active and exercising, this may not be enough – especially if you’re exercising at high intensity. Active women typically require higher dosages of certain vitamins and minerals than a standard multi, and failure to meet these required elements can result in decreased strength, recovery, and fat loss.

These seven micronutrients are crucial for women looking to maximize their health, physical goals, and athletic performance. Add good whole foods sources to your regular diet with clean eating and consider adding these stand-alone vitamins and minerals when you may be nutritionally deficient.

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Consider supplementing these vitamins and minerals when you may be nutritionally deficient.

vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant that helps rid the body of harmful free radicals, helping you recover more quickly from exercise. It also strengthens your immune system to fight off short and long term adverse events like colds, infections, and even some forms of cancer. It supports connective tissue, keeps capillaries healthy, and aids in the absorption of iron, which, as you know, is especially important for women at this time of the month. And since iron is also a component of hemoglobin, vitamin C becomes vital for those who exercise intensely to efficiently deliver oxygen to working cells.

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Timing and dosage

Since your body cannot synthesize or store vitamin C, it must be part of your regular food intake. So aim for at least 500 milligrams a day from foods and supplements. You can ingest up to 2,000 milligrams per day for extra recovery and immunity support, but build it up slowly as large doses often cause diarrhea.

Good whole food sources: Strawberries, pineapple, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts.

salmon

Along with herring, sardines, egg yolks and mushrooms, salmon is a good source of vitamin D.

Vitamin D

This fat-soluble antioxidant can be synthesized by your body in the presence of sunlight and, along with calcium, is essential for bone health. Research has shown that vitamin D helps regulate insulin levels, resulting in improved fat loss and muscle building in active women. Those looking to support an increase in muscle mass tissue should highlight vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) as this form promotes the production of the hormones that support this goal.

Timing and dosage

Take 400 to 1,000 IU twice a day with whole food meals.

Good whole food sources: Salmon, herring, sardines, egg yolks and mushrooms.

Folic acid

Folate (B9) is a crucial water-soluble vitamin and in its synthetic form is known as folic acid. When ingested, it converts to L-methylfolate, a compound that promotes the production of new cells by helping your body replicate DNA and RNA. It also helps replace damaged cells with new, healthy ones, which makes it beneficial for pregnant women or those looking to recover from intense exercise or to grow. Consider taking folic acid or folic acid with arginine, an amino acid that promotes the production of nitric oxide to increase blood and nutrient flow to the muscles you are exercising.

Timing and dosage

For best results, take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid or folic acid once or twice a day.

Good whole food sources: Chickpea beans, liver, lentils and avocado.

Calcium supports bone health.

Calcium supports bone health.

calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and is of crucial importance for many physiological processes. One of the most important roles calcium plays for women is in supporting bone health. When you’re deficient, your body removes calcium from your bones to support an intense exercise. This puts you at greater risk of fractures and other bone-related injuries – even osteoporosis across the board. Calcium is also an electrolyte that regulates heart rate and blood pressure, and improves the speed and intensity of muscle contractions, resulting in better exercise.

Timing and dosage

Take 500 to 600 milligrams two to four times a day with meals or between meals. Avoid taking calcium alone with other minerals such as magnesium and zinc, as these minerals compete for absorption.

Good whole food sources: Grains of milk, chia and sesame seeds, sardines, beans and lentils.

iron

Iron is a mineral that is primarily associated with healthy red blood cell production and the supply of oxygen to working cells. Iron also helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in muscle cells, which is crucial in fueling muscle contractions: the harder you exercise, the more ATP needs to be replaced in order to continue the intensity. Women have greater iron needs than men, especially because of blood loss during this time of the month, and one of the first signs of iron deficiency is a decrease in brain function: you may feel sluggish or depressed, and you may have problems with cognition as it is being processed. If these symptoms occur, increase your iron intake and speak to your doctor.

Timing and dosage

Consume at least 18 milligrams of iron daily through a diet, multivitamin, or stand-alone dietary supplement.

Good whole food sources: Turkey, chicken, soybeans, spinach and beef.

magnesium

Despite the fact that we have a great need for magnesium, this mineral is not rich in our diet as it is not found in abundance in many food sources. This mineral is also easily lost through sweat, and very active women can be deficient, leading to muscle weakness, fatigue, and even insulin resistance. As with calcium, magnesium plays a key role in maintaining bone and heart health. Of particular interest to sporty women. Studies show that magnesium can help reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that delays recovery. Taking magnesium before bed can lead to deeper sleep, according to research: it helps regulate neurotransmitters and the production of melatonin, the primary hormone that helps you sleep.

Timing and dosage

Take 300 milligrams of magnesium a day – including a dose just before bed – in the absence of calcium, which could interfere with absorption.

Good whole food sources: Buckwheat flour, trails, oat bran and halibut.

Oysters

Oysters are a great source of zinc.

zinc

Like iron and vitamin C, zinc supports your body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, promotes cell growth, and replicates genes. It has been shown in clinical studies to increase the levels of hormones that promote muscle building and increase metabolism, while also helping to destroy free radicals and aid in faster recovery from intense exercise. As an antioxidant, zinc supports immune function and wound healing and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and regenerative aid. Active women should consider taking zinc alone or as a ZMA supplement – a combination of zinc and magnesium that is best taken on an empty stomach before bed.

Timing and dosage

Women should ingest at least 8 milligrams of zinc per day through food and supplements, but can ingest up to 20 milligrams. As with magnesium, zinc is best supplemented in the absence of calcium.

Good whole food sources: Oysters, beef, crabs, lamb, baked beans and dark chocolate.

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