6 supplements experts say women should start taking in their 20s

If you invest in taking care of yourself and your body but still feel drained, vitamins and supplements can be the support your body craves. However, identifying which vitamins you need can be difficult, especially in your 20s. As much as I loved the Flintstones multivitamins I took from ages three to 11 (you know the ones), they probably won’t do anything for your adult body. #VitaminsForWomen has over 15.8 million views on TikTok, with ashwagandha, vitamin D and magnesium topping the charts as some of the most popular and recommended by experts, but there are hundreds of vitamins advertised on TikTok, media outlets and pages influencers, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about how much you should be taking each day.

If you’ve ever Googled “What vitamins should I take” and been left more confused and overwhelmed than before, ditto. So I wanted to simplify your request for the perfect supplement routine by clarifying what we really we should be taking in our 20s (because the body needs different things at different ages).

To determine the top choice of supplements, we talked to doctors, pharmacists and medical professionals about which vitamins you should add to your routine. BTV, everyone has different health goals and preferences, so take that into consideration when choosing your daily vitamins and always talk to your doctor to formulate a routine that’s best for you; this list is based on suggestions from experts that should serve as a starting point for you and your healthcare team. Read on to find out the expert-recommended supplements to add to your morning and nighttime routine whether you’re in your early 20s or entering your 30s.

1. Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is currently one of the most popular vitamins on TikTok with the hashtag #magnesium getting over 535.5 million views, and it turns out there’s a good reason. Magnesium glycinate helps reduce stress and anxiety, regulate bowel movements and improve sleep, explained Jillian Smith, registered dietitian. According to the Mayo Clinic, magnesium supports muscle and nerve function as well as energy production, helping you fight the fatigue and muscle aches that come with being a woman in your 20s.

Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPH says to get the most out of magnesium, you should take 350 mg daily, preferably at night, as it can help improve sleep quality. Moreover, it can help with certain symptoms. For those pounding headaches or terrible hangovers, ditch the ibuprofen and aspirin and reach for magnesium, Dr. Rangaves recommended. In fact, if you have frequent headaches or migraines, Dr. Rangaves says it could be a sign that your body is deficient in magnesium (research on magnesium has confirmed that it can be effective as an acute headache treatment option).

2. B vitamins

There are eight different B vitamins and each one affects the body differently, but they are all known for increasing energy levels. If you’re concerned about your energy levels, Dr. Zeeshan Afzal, MD says you should consider adding B vitamins like B3, B6 and B12 to your morning routine. Vitamin B3 regulates your body’s serotonin levels and metabolism, possibly helping those suffering from stress or anxiety, Dr. Rangaves explained. To keep your immune and nervous systems strong and developing, experts recommend vitamin B6. A 2019 study published by the National Library of Medicine proved that a higher intake of B6 was associated with lower depression and anxiety in women, making it a top vitamin for women looking to improve their mood.

Dr. Dimitar Marinov, Ph.D. she said women who are vegan or vegetarian may need to supplement with B12 because it’s usually found in animal products. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the nerves and the production of red blood cells, says Dr. Marinov. The recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mg, however, vitamin B12 has no toxicity, so even higher doses are safe to supplement.

3. Iron

To be honest, menstruating people need to watch their iron intake. During menstruation, women can lose between one and six milligrams of iron per liter of blood depending on their average flow, so it is necessary to facilitate the production of more iron, Dr. Rangaves said. Not all women experience low iron levels, so talk to your doctor about your diet as well as testing to see if you’re getting enough iron from food. Low iron levels can cause extreme fatigue, chest pain, frequent headaches, and shortness of breath, so iron supplementation may provide relief for some women, says Dr. Erica Aragona, a board-certified family medicine physician.

The recommended daily dose of iron for women in their 20s is 5-10 mg per day, recommended Dr. Marinov. Adequate iron levels can improve energy levels, reduce the risk of anemia, and improve overall physical performance. So, whether you want to feel more energized throughout the day or want to see more progress between trips to the gym, check with your doctor to see if iron might be a helpful supplement based on your health issues and concerns.

4. Probiotics

By now you probably already know how critical gut health is to your overall health. Gut health is so important when it comes to a healthy microbiome, balancing immunity (did you know our immune cells line our gut walls?) and helping with overall health, Dr. Aragona said. Probiotics can help restore good bacteria and promote a healthy system. Similar to iron, be aware that digesting large amounts of probiotics can have the opposite effect on the body, causing bacterial overgrowth. Experts say that when choosing your probiotic, aim for a colony-forming unit count of 20 billion with at least six different strains listed in the supplement facts.

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most commonly absorbed through sun exposure, but during those interminable winter months it can be beneficial to add vitamin D to your morning regimen. Vitamin D supports an active immune system, a healthy mood, and strong bones, muscles and teeth, said Dr. Chant Wiegand. When choosing vitamin D, Dr. Wiegand advised choosing a D3 supplement. Vitamin D in the D3 form is better absorbed by the body than D2, encouraging your digestive system to consume calcium and phosphorus to build and maintain strong bones. Also make sure your supplement has the right other nutrients because vitamin D needs additional ingredients to help the body absorb it. “Your vitamin D supplement should also contain vitamin K2, which helps ensure that the body’s calcium is properly directed to the bones and not the arteries,” recommended Dr. Wiegand.

6. Ashwagandha

Whether you experience stress at work, in social settings, or in everyday life, studies have shown that Ashwagandha is a natural stress reliever that can provide relief for women in their 20s. Ashwagandha, an herb that has been used for centuries for its many medicinal purposes, can help fight stress by controlling cortisol levels, explained Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition. Cortisol is known as a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to worry. Best says that ashwagandha easily targets cortisol levels that are elevated due to constant and uncontrolled stress. Experts recommend that you split your ashwagandha intake between two doses (about 300 mg in the morning and 300 mg in the evening). Best known for reducing stress and anxiety, the herb is also known to increase muscle strength, elevate sexual function and support heart health.

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