Every stage in life has its challenges. The same goes for health—our nutritional needs change as we move through life.

Getting good health is gender-neutral. But for women, some vitamins and minerals are crucial to certain age groups or conditions, while some remain essential all through life.

Aside from osteoporosis, breast cancer, and cervical cancer, a woman’s physiology is also more commonly affected by health issues like stroke, depression, multiple sclerosis, migraines, urinary tract issues, and Alzheimer’s disease.

To help prevent or manage health issues that affect females differently, a woman’s diet must not fall short of certain micronutrients. Here’s a roundup of what women must watch out for:


Important for:
Bone health. Women have thinner bones and fewer bone tissues. Female bones are protected mostly by estrogen, which starts to decline during menopause. It also helps prevent PMS symptoms and skin damage.
Important to:
All life stages, but most beneficial to women in their 20s for building bone density that might be lost in later years, and women 50 years and older to maintain bone strength. For pregnant women, adequate calcium levels can decrease risks of hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and low birth weight.

Vitamin D

Important for:

Calcium absorption, immune function, and lowering risks of heart disease, autoimmune disease, and some cancers.

Important to:

All life stages, but most beneficial to women working night shift, obese women, women with kidney or digestive problems, and women 50 years and older.

For pregnant women, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus for the skeletal formation of the fetus. A deficiency is also associated with high-risk pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight.


Important for:

Preventing anemia, transporting oxygen in the body, hormone production, and cellular growth and development. Women can store fewer iron in the body than men, and menstruating and sweating can deplete iron reserves easily.

Important to:

Vegetarians, athletic women, and women with heavy menstrual bleeding. Iron deficiency anemia can manifest symptoms like brittle nails, paleness, stomach upset, weakness, fatigue, poor memory and concentration, and weakened immunity.

Iron requirements increase dramatically for pregnant & breastfeeding women. impaired fetal growth, increased risk of hemorrhage, and pre-term delivery in early pregnancy.

Folate (Vitamin B9)

Important for:

Preventing birth defects. Folate that helps in fetal development to reduce the risk of being born with spinal cord problems, like spina bifida.

Important to:

For pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant.


Important for:

Hundreds of bodily functions, including tooth and bone formation, growth, physical and cognitive development, and healthy pregnancy.

Important to:

All life stages, but most beneficial to women 40 years and older for stronger bones, and more stable levels of blood pressure and blood sugar.

For pregnant women, magnesium helps build and repair body tissues. It also helps muscles to relax, which can aid in premature contraction of the uterus and pre-term labor.

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Important for:

Producing new red blood cells and proper brain and neural function. Deficiency can go unnoticed, but it can result in poor mental performance and cognitive decline.

Important to:

Women 50 years and older, because the ability to absorb vitamin B12 slows down with age. Vegetarians and women with digestive disorders may also have compromised cobalamin levels.

For pregnant women, cobalamin works in tandem with folate for proper physical development of the fetus. Deficiency can increase pregnancy risks like neural tube defects, intrauterine growth retardation, preeclampsia, early miscarriage, and insulin resistance that may result to obesity of the child.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Important for:

Hormone production, easing menstrual pain, relieving rheumatoid arthritis, and reducing the risks of heart attack, stroke, and some cancers.

Important to:

Vegetarians and non-fish eaters, and women suffering from menstrual cramps, joint swelling, and depression.

For pregnant women, omega-3 supports the development of brain and eyes of the fetus.

To get enough nourishment that can help reduce female-specific health risks, increase and diversify your dietary intake of these micronutrients, or consider supplementation to help maintain optimum vitamin levels. If pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor first about diet and supplements.

If you want to learn more about the safe & effective use of vitamins, you can get FREE expert advice from our Vitamin Geeks. They are specialized pharmacists and nutritionists who can answer your questions about the proper practices for supplementation.

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Office on Women’s Health. 2018. “Vitamins and Minerals for Women.” Womenshealth.gov. Retrieved March 10, 2021 (https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/how-eat-health/vitamins-and-minerals-women).

Bolt, Beth. 2015. “Vitamins and Minerals: The Essentials for Women.” US News & World Report. Retrieved March 10, 2021 (https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/06/29/vitamins-and-minerals-the-essentials-for-women).

Rush University Medical Center. 2014. “How Gender Affects Health.” Rush.edu. Retrieved March 10, 2021 (https://www.rush.edu/news/how-gender-affects-health).

Bustreo, Flavia. 2015. “Ten Top Issues for Women’s Health.” World Health Organization. Retrieved March 10, 2021 (https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/ten-top-issues-for-women%27s-health)

Regis College. 2018. “8 Common Women’s Health Issues to Know about | Regis College.” Regis College Online. Retrieved March 10, 2021 (https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/health-issues-specific-womens-health/).

MRC Vitamin Study Research Group. (1991). Prevention of neural-tube defects: Results of the Medical Research Council vitamin study. Lancet 338:131-137. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1677062

Wen SW, Walker M. (2005). An exploration of health effects of folic acid in pregnancy beyond reducing neural tube defects. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 27(1):13-9. http://www.jogc.com/article/S1701-2163(16)30166-9/pdf; Botto LD, et al. Neural tube defects. N Engl J Med.1999;341:1509.

Spatling L, Dish G, Classen HG 1989 Dec;2(4):271-80 Magnesium in pregnant women and the newborn. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2701863

Madell, Robin. 2014. “MS in Women: Common Symptoms.” Healthline. Retrieved March 15, 2021 (https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/common-ms-symptoms-women).

World Health Organization. 2013. Guideline: Calcium supplementation in pregnant women. Geneva, World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/85120/9789241505376_eng.pdf;jsessionid=35452AE6BC08AE1B225028510AD4AB28?sequence=1

Cudihy, D. & Lee, RV. 2009. The pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia: current clinical concepts. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2009;29:576-82; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19757258

Carol L. Wagner, et al. 2012 Mar; 4(3): 208–230. Vitamin D and its role during pregnancy in attaining optimal health of mother and fetus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3347028/

Michos, Erin. 2021. “How Does Vitamin D Affect Women’s Health?” Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved March 16, 2021 (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/how-does-vitamin-d-affect-womens-health).

Juan Pablo Pena-Rosas, et al. 2012 .Daily Oral Iron supplementation during pregnancy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4233117/ The Role of Micronutrients in Pregnancy. Australian Family Physicians. December 2009.

Spatling L, Dish G, Classen HG 1989 Dec;2(4):271-80 Magnesium in pregnant women and the newborn. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2701863

Office of Dietary Supplements. 2017. “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12.” National Institutes of Health. Retrieved March 16, 2021 (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/).

Ho, J. 2019. “Omega-3: 5 Reasons Why Women Need It – HealthXchange.” Healthxchange.sg. Retrieved March 17, 2021 (https://www.healthxchange.sg/food-nutrition/supplements/omega-three-reasons-women-need-it).

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