While many health and nutritional needs are universal to all people, there is no doubt that women have unique health challenges that they face. With interest in self-care and wellbeing on the rise, many women are looking to address these concerns specific to Women’s Health. These issues could include anything from the physical and emotional effects of menstruation or menopause, to issues of stress and mood swings throughout fluctuating hormone cycles, to simply wanting to look and feel one’s best. There are many foods, beverages, and supplements that can support women’s health – in this educational piece, we’ll take a look at some of these ingredients with strong scientific support and proven efficacy.
Bioavailable Minerals and Electrolytes
Everybody requires a certain amount of minerals and electrolytes – but in some situations, women may require more. It is well known that women are at risk of developing an iron deficiency during menstruation. A highly bioavailable source of iron, such as SunActive® Fe, can help replenish the body’s levels of iron to ensure whole body health.
Another situation in which women may need additional minerals to supplement their diet is during pregnancy. Pregnancy can be taxing on a mother’s body – as they share their nutrients with their baby, they often have special nutritional needs to stay properly nourished and healthy. For example, pregnant women are prone to mineral deficiencies. These deficiencies can cause problems, such as loss in bone density or irregular blood pressure. Ensuring sufficient mineral and electrolyte intake by supplementing with bioavailable sources, such as mineral glycerophosphates, can help prevent these problems.
Mood Support and Adaptogens
The hormonal cycles women go through often cause fluctuations in mood and stress levels, whether that be PMS and the menstrual cycle, or the transition into menopause. The amino acid that naturally occurs in green tea, called L-theanine, is known for its mood regulating and stress relief benefits, both in green tea and taken alone as a supplement. Suntheanine®, the top branded L-theanine on the market, has been clinically proven to reduce negative mental and emotional symptoms of PMS. Ashwagandha extracts have also been shown to reduce stress levels. Studies on Shoden® ashwagandha extract have shown clinically-studied reductions in stress by both biomarkers and surveys. Both of these ingredients can help reduce stress and regulate mood to help women feel emotionally balanced through all cycles of life.
Additionally, many women going through menopause will start experiencing decreased sleep time or quality due to hot flashes, as well as feelings of anxiety or depression that keep them up. Both Shoden® ashwagandha extract and Suntheanine® L-theanine have proven in clinical studies to improve quality of sleep, leading to a feeling of true refreshment upon waking.
Beauty from Within – Hydrolyzed Proteins
While not limited to women, Beauty from Within is a growing category among consumers who want to not only feel healthy, but also look healthy. Although the targeted benefits may seem cosmetic, the reasons why consumers are looking for these products are often rooted in an internal deficiency of nutrients. Issues like hair thinning, brittle nails, or dehydrated skin can affect all people, and are indications that a certain nutrient may be missing from a person’s diet. Supplementing with particular proteins and amino acids can give the body more building blocks to create the strong skin, hair, and nails that many people are looking for.
Elastin is the protein in skin cells that gives skin its elasticity, or in other words, what keeps skin full, supple, and bouncy. Keratin is a structural protein in the skin that connects and protects the skin cells. Without enough of these proteins, the skin may lose some of its structural integrity, which can lead to dull, wrinkly, or sagging skin. Keratin is also a major component of hair and nails. Low levels of keratin can cause brittle and weak hair and nails. Supplementing the diet with keratin and elastin provides the exact amino acids necessary for the body to build more of these proteins. However, both keratin and elastin as whole proteins are difficult to break down and therefore digest. By hydrolyzing beforehand, the peptides and amino acids become bioavailable and ready for the body to use. To learn more about hydrolyzed keratin and elastin to help support strong skin, hair, and nails, check out top-quality ingredients like KeraGLO® and ElastaGLO®.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of constipation is typically higher in women than in men, meaning women may need extra support for their digestive health. Adding fiber to the diet can sometimes help with this issue, but not all fibers are created equal. A true regulating fiber is the best tool for improving regularity of stool. Partially hydrolyzed guar fiber is one that helps improve regularity by pulling more water into the stool, softening it just enough to help it pass. Sunfiber® is a brand of partially hydrolyzed guar fiber that has been clinically proven to have these benefits in women struggling with constipation.
NutriScience Innovations develops and markets innovative ingredients for the dietary supplement and functional food markets. To learn more about our ingredients for Women’s Health, please contact [email protected].