Glittery nail wraps, five-dollar jewelry, and makeup, Oh My! In place of my typical household chores, midday naps, and other weekend routines, I spent last weekend double-teaming the NWA 2019 40/29 & Arkansas CW Women's Living Expo with my co-worker, Taylor (who also happens to be my significant other, see picture below).
Between my excursions to share literature and network with other venders (and, ahem, pick up some perfume samples and browse the boutiques) I had the opportunity to chat with the dozens of enthusiastic ladies and reluctant husbands that stopped by our booth. We were thrilled to tell people about our company and its commitment to quality, and we were blessed to engage in several delightful conversations with local women attending the expo!
One of our highest priorities at these events is to share with our audience the paramount importance of vitamin D (and the fact that most of us have insufficient or deficient levels!), but we also talked quite a bit about some of the products we consider especially relevant to women’s health. This is a topic I could drone on and on and on about, but instead I’ll [try to] keep it short and sweet. Below is a brief rundown on each of the products I hand-picked for this conference, their important contributions towards women’s health, and a few references so you can check out the science behind each ingredient for yourself!
- Folic Acid (FA-8). Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin with vital roles in heart and nervous system health. While folic acid is found in a variety of foods (mainly legumes and dark green veggies) it is often altered or destroyed through cooking. Supplementation with folic acid is recommended for all women with a possibility of conceiving, as a deficiency of this vitamin during early pregnancy dramatically increases risk of neural tube defects (1).*
- Iron (Fe-20). For most of us, this is a given. If you have reached womanhood (biologically speaking) you are either losing blood 2-7 days each month or pregnant, both of which increase your iron needs. Researchers have found that iron supplementation during pregnancy is both safe and effective in maintaining iron levels (2) . In addition, iron supplementation in adolescent girls is supported by multiple studies, including one that demonstrated improved mental function (3) . Your need for iron is especially high if you eat very little red meat or experience extremely heavy flow during menstruation. *
- Diindolylmethane (DIM). Bio-Tech’s DIM features a combination of supplements designed for women, with the featured ingredient diindolylmethane (DIM), a phytonutrient found in small amounts in cruciferous vegetables. In the latter decades of the 1900s a host of studies examined the impact of the DIM precursor, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), on estrogen metabolism and observed positive effects. Like I3C, DIM directs estrogen metabolism away from a harmful product (16α-hydroxyestrone) and towards production of the “good estrogen” (2-hydroxyestrone) (4). *
- Calcium (Cal-Citrate). Though it is involved in numerous physiological processes, calcium is most widely known for its importance to maintaining healthy bones. Adequate calcium throughout life may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and this is especially important for women. Estrogen is a major regulator of proper bone remodeling, and the plummet in estrogen levels that occurs after menopause results in an increase of bone resorption (breakdown) (5). Thus, it is vital that women intake sufficient calcium to build bones prior to menopause (RDA 1000 mg/day) and to help compensate for the increase in bone turnover after menopause (1200 mg/day) (5).*
- Omega-3 fatty acids (Omega Oil). Achieving an appropriate ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids supports several aspects of physical health. The typical Western diet contains high levels of inflammation-promoting omega-6s and are deplete in inflammation-combating omega-3s, leading to a distortion in physiological fatty acid balance (6). Correcting this balance by diet or supplementation may help fight widespread physiological inflammation and lead to improvements in heart health, body weight maintenance efforts, mood, and skin health. Unless your diet contains plentiful seafood, however, diet alone may not be enough. The omega-3 fatty acids in many foods (eggs, nuts, vegetable oils) are present as alpha-linolenic acid which is converted in the body to the biologically active forms, DHA and EPA. Studies have found that our bodies have become less efficient at this biotransformation, but fortunately this problem is easily solved (7). Just make sure to choose an omega-3 supplement that directly provides EPA and DHA, the active and ready-to-go forms!*
- D-Mannose. Mannose is a sugar with proven benefits to urinary tract health. Mannose binds to potentially harmful bacteria that would otherwise bind to urinary tract walls, allowing it to be flushed out in urine (8). *
And last, but certainly not least:
- Vitamin D3 (D3-5). Vitamin D, which many know as the sunshine vitamin, is just as (if not MORE) essential to your body than vitamin C, vitamin A, etc. Unlike these other vitamins, however, we obtain D through foods in scarce amounts that don’t even come close to meeting our requirements. Throughout history, mankind has met the body’s vitamin D needs by doing daily what many of us long for during the workweek and only achieve on vacations and some weekends…… getting some sun. Between the hours of 10am and 2pm, When the UVB rays from the sun contact skin it activates physiochemical reactions that convert an inactive, useless form of vitamin D to the form we need to maintain healthy bones, immunity, and so much more. This form is 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, a metabolite of cholecalciferol, widely known as vitamin D3. In past decades (or centuries), this was enough. The sad reality today is that most people simply do not spend enough time in the sun, and therefore do not produce enough vitamin D3. Multiple reports state that most people in the US are either insufficient or deficient in vitamin D3, and this trend has been associated with the widespread increase of several health issues (9). I know this sounds bleak, but do not despair! Research has also shown that taking adequate doses of supplemental D3 raises the levels vitamin D in your body to meet recommendations (10).
So, there you are. Not nearly an all-inclusive list or down-to-the-wire explanations, but hopefully enough information to help you as you explore some supplements that may complement your lifestyle and help improve your overall health.
We left the expo with more than we brought; new friends, business connections, some glam merchandise for THIS lady, and some steak seasoning for Taylor (I swear he hunted down the one manly item at the show and bought it). None of thiscan measure up to the weekend’s greatest gift of all, however. Meet Storm, introduced to us at the expo by Matt with Off Leash K9 Training and newly adopted through the Prairie Grove Pound!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
- Milunsky A, et al. Multivitamin/Folic Acid Supplementation in Early Pregnancy Reduces the Prevalence of Neural Tube Defects. JAMA. 1989, 262(20), 2847-2852.
- Makrides M, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of low-dose iron supplements during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2003, 78(1), 145-153.
- Bruner A, et al. Randomised study of cognitive effects of iron supplementation in non-anaemic iron-deficient adolescent girls. Lancet. 1996, 348, 992-996.
- Fowke H, et al. Brassica Vegetable Consumption Shifts Estrogen Metabolism in Healthy Postmenopausal Women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prevention. 2000, 9, 773-779.
- Gogus U, et al. n-3 Omega fatty acids: a review of current knowledge. Int J Food Sci Technol. 2010, 45, 417-436.
- Chilton F, et al. Precision Nutrition and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: A Case for Personalized Supplementation Approaches for the Prevention and Management of Human Diseases. Nutrients. 2017, 9, 1165.
- Kranjcec B, D-mannose powder for prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a randomized clinical trial. World J. Urol. 2013, 32(1), 79-84.
- Liu X, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency among US adults: prevalence, predictors, and clinical implications. Br. J. Nutr. 2018, 119, 928-936.
- Meekins M, et al. Pharmacokinetics of daily versus monthly vitamin D3 supplementation in non-lactating women. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2014, 68(5), 632-634.