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 Nutritional Programs: Nutritional Programs for Adult Women  
  • Adult Women's Nutrient Program Range (RDAs to Optimum Safe Levels)

    Women also have special needs. On a very basic level, they need to love and be loved, to create, to express their feelings, and to express their being. (Men, of course, also have these basic needs.) Each woman is a special jewel that shines in her own way and she has her particular requirements for life.

    Women also have special nutritional needs. During the menstruating years (between ages 13 and 50, varying individually), their need for iron to replace lost red blood cells is high. They also need adequate amounts of other nutrients, such as the B vitamins, iodine, calcium, and magnesium—more, I think, than the RDAs suggest.

    One of the main concerns with women is that their food intake may not be adequate. Physical activity levels may be low, and often there is low calorie intake related to dieting to stay thin. This may result in inadequate nutrient intake to meet nutritional requirements. Very active women may also eat lightly to keep their weight down, and without adequate supplements, this can lead to deficiencies.

    On the other hand, some women put on weight very easily and have a difficult time losing it. Even low-calorie diets may not do the trick. Increased activity levels with a moderately caloric, balanced, high-vegetable, lean-protein diet may help them to reduce. Checking the thyroid hormone levels, assessing the caloric intake/utilization relationship to weight and energy maintenance and activity levels, and integrating and optimizing these will be helpful. (This is, of course, a wide concept.) Also, basic multivitamin plus additional supplements, particularly extra B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, plus potassium, calcium, and magnesium, will also be helpful. (For more on this, see the Weight Loss program.)

    Sexual vitality is also very important to women. A number of nutrients are important in supporting the sexual organs, sexual functions, and a normal menstrual cycle. Adrenal support and function are very important for women as well as for men. The adrenal glands help us deal with stress and give us sexual energy. Stress, allergies, and high amounts of sugar intake can weaken these important glands, and this may be exacerbated by nutritional deficiency. The adrenals need adequate levels of vitamins A, C, and E, essential fatty acids, and B vitamins, particularly pantothenic acid. Chromium and adequate levels of amino acids will also help reduce sugar cravings and thus help support the adrenals.

    The female ovaries secrete estrogen and progesterone, which control the menstrual cycle. These hormones are influenced by the pituitary gland in the brain; the pituitary is influenced by higher brain centers, which are in turn affected by emotions, moon cycles, weather, and the seasons. This female hormonal balance is, therefore, a delicate one that needs a lot of support. It requires sufficient levels of B vitamins, especially folic acid and niacin, plus zinc and vitamin E. Certain fats and cholesterol are important precursors of female hormones, mediated through the liver’s biochemical processes. Drug and alcohol use, which can stress the liver, may weaken this sensitive hormonal function. Also, some women’s cholesterol levels are too low, especially those who are strict vegetarians, and this may be related to low hormonal levels and early menopause.

  • (Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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     About The Author
    Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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