08 July, 2011
What Are the Recommended Daily Vitamins & Minerals for Women?
Women have special vitamin and mineral needs, depending on their age. Women of childbearing age have higher requirements for certain vitamins and minerals to prevent birth defects, regulate menstrual cycles and address higher energy demands. Maintaining adequate intakes or meeting recommended daily intakes of vitamins and minerals can delay chronic diseases, lessen aging and maintain your health and vigor.
Women of childbearing age are recommended to take 400mcg of folic acid per day to prevent neural tube defects. Folate or folic acid also helps with replication of your DNA in all your cells, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Folate participates in prevention of anemia associated with your red blood cells and maintaining adequate energy levels.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps to maintain red blood formation, DNA production and nerve health, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. This vitamin is especially important for pregnant females and nursing mothers, because low B12 levels in infants can lead to developmental delays. Recommended levels of B12 for women are 2.4mcg, 2.6mcg and 2.8mcg for females over the age of 14, pregnant and breastfeeding, respectively.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamins C and E help maintain skin health, but also participate in neutralizing free radical damage in the body that can promote accelerated aging. This duo of antioxidants help to lessen your LDL or bad cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals, causing fatty streaks or plaque buildup in your arteries, as stated by the Office of Dietary Supplements. Recommended intakes of vitamin C and E are 75mg and 15mg, respectively.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D and calcium work together to maintain your bone density and strength as stated by Annette Dickinson, Ph.D. in “Recommended Intake of Vitamins and Essential Minerals.” Vitamin D increases calcium absorption from your small intestines. Vitamin D may also be protective against certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancers. Recommended vitamin D intake for women 19 to 50 years of age is 5mcg or 200 International Units or IUs per day. After menopause, a woman's intake should go up to 10mcg or 400 IUs per day. The recommended daily calcium intake for females 19 to 50 years of age is 1,000mg. After the age of 50, the recommended daily intake increases to 1,200mg per day.
Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting, but for females it is important to increase bone density and proper calcium metabolism. Vitamin K stimulates protein activity that increases calcium deposition in your bone matrix, enhancing your bone density. Recommended daily allowance of vitamin K has not been established as data is insufficient at this time, according to Dickinson. Adequate intake for females is 90mcg of vitamin K per day.
Iron is vital for oxygen transportation to all your body tissues. Your red blood cells, or RBC, contain iron and allow each RBC to transport oxygen to your brain, muscles and organs. Without adequate iron, you experience fatigue, weakness and inability to concentrate on work. The recommended daily allowance of iron is 18mg for women of childbearing age and postmenopausal women need 8mg, according to Dickinson.
Chromium works to maintain insulin sensitivity and proper glucose metabolism. Adequate daily intake for chromium is 25mcg per day and at this time, as stated by Dickinson, recommended daily allowance hasn’t been established. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, agricultural and manufacturing techniques affect the amount of chromium in food, and this is the primary reason recommended daily allowances can’t be determined.
- sweet grapes image by Julia Britvich from Fotolia.com