Discover the Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Women Over 40
Did you know your micronutrient needs change as you age? For women, it’s even more of a challenge as after the age of 30, the body starts to lose nutrients we used to hold on to. For example, collagen production declines in the body, decreasing the natural appearance of tighter, firmer skin.1 As women age, we often need higher intakes of certain vitamins and minerals to help support overall wellness and health.‡
Vitamins and minerals are two nutrients every individual needs to stay healthy. There are 13 essential vitamins consisting of Vitamin A, D, E and K, which are the fat-soluble vitamins, and then the water-soluble essential vitamins, the Vitamin B’s (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate) and Vitamin C.2
Minerals are organic elements that often help support an aging woman’s health and wellness as they often act as a kick-start for metabolic reactions in the body.‡
Please stick with me while I share more about some essential vitamins and minerals for women over 40.
Calcium for Women Over 40
You’ve probably heard about how important calcium is for bone health and for women, it goes well beyond that. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is the mineral that makes up healthy bones and teeth, partially responsible for keeping bodily movement strong and flexible.3‡
Calcium is also involved in your vascular (blood vessels and veins) or circulatory system. Have you ever heard of a calcium channel before? (It’s okay if you haven’t!) Simply put, a calcium channel is a cellularly electric gradient fueled by calcium ions (which hold a positive charge) and this channel is selectively permeable to calcium ions. The goal of this channel is to transport calcium atoms into cells, allowing the cell to generate electrical signals and function.4 I like to think of it as an electrical outlet for our cells, except our cells use calcium channels instead of plugging a cord into an outlet in the wall.
Why Calcium Matters for Women Over 40
At birth, the body contains about 26-30 grams of calcium. As we grow, this quickly jumps to about 1,200 grams for women and 1,400 grams for men by adulthood.
But don’t get too comfy!
These levels start to drop off for women due to bone remodeling and varying levels of estrogen production when women reach menopause. Not to mention, calcium absorption has been found to decrease to about 25% in adulthood.5 As we age, our calcium needs increase, but our efficacy in absorbing calcium also decreases.
Not fair, is it?
That’s why we designed our Women's Nutrients with women’s aging needs in mind. It’s a comprehensive multivitamin and mineral formula for women over 40, containing 200 mg of calcium as calcium citrate. This is the highest elemental dose of calcium per serving in any of our multivitamin and mineral formulas. The importance of calcium is hard to overlook as it plays an essential role in blood vessel contraction and dilation, muscle function, coagulation, nerve signaling and even hormone secretion and metabolism.6,7‡
Why Women Need Calcium and Natural Sources of Calcium
As women age, their calcium needs change. For women ages 19 through 50, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of calcium per day is 1,000 mg, but that value increases to 1,200 mg for those 51 years and older.3
As we mentioned a little earlier, calcium levels drop with changes in bone and estrogen balance, plus the efficacy in absorbing calcium decreases as women age. This, in turn, means we need to have a greater intake of elemental calcium.
You may wonder, “What are some natural sources of calcium?”
Most commonly, dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese are excellent sources of calcium. However, there are non-dairy sources of calcium, such as fish like sardines, salmon with bones and veggies like kale, broccoli and bok choi. In the United States, we also fortify and enrich our grains with calcium.3
If you’re looking for a larger elemental dose of calcium than the 200 mg in our Women’s Nutrients, check out our Pure Encapsulations® Calcium citrate. This provides 300 mg of elemental calcium per serving and in a very absorbable organic chelate form.
Calcium and Vitamin D
If you remember, at the start of this blog we discussed the 13 essential vitamins women need as they age. One of those vitamins is vitamin D. Vitamin D offers a wide range of benefits, including promoting intestinal calcium absorption, reducing urinary calcium loss and promoting the essential mechanisms of maintaining proper calcium for bone composition.8 That’s why our Calcium with Vitamin D3 provides 10 mcg (400 IU) of active Vitamin D3 and 450 mg of elemental calcium per serving. ‡
Vitamin B for Women Over 40
Let’s give calcium a bit of a breather for now and instead switch gears to put B vitamins on the spot.
If you haven’t already, the Registered Dietitians here at Pure Encapsulations® wrote a feature article on how B vitamins help support cognitive health as people age.‡ If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.
B vitamins, including B12, are important in cellular energy, metabolism, red blood cell formation and nerve function, and support DNA synthesis. However, as we age, our ability to absorb some B vitamins (particularly B12) becomes less efficient than when we were younger.9‡
Many B vitamins, such as B12 and folate, rely on stomach acid and other key factors within the digestive tract for absorption. Older women and adults and people with lower stomach acid (which generally declines with aging) or digestive issues may struggle to absorb B12 and other B vitamins effectively.9
For example, B12 relies on a glycoprotein called intrinsic factor in order to be absorbed by the body. Intrinsic factor is made in the stomach and relies on stomach acid to help with B12 absorption. As we age, we don’t produce as much stomach acid, therefore decreasing the amount of intrinsic factor available to absorb B12.10
That’s part of the reason why many women may choose diets or supplements that enrich their intake of B vitamins. Most B vitamins are found in animal protein sources such as meat, fish, poultry – and even dairy! Still, just like calcium, B vitamins are another example of fortified nutrients added to grains and cereals to ensure Americans get adequate amounts.
If you need a full B Complex to add to your supplement routine, our B-Complex Plus offers a broad spectrum of vitamin B support for cellular energy and nutrient metabolism.‡
Iron Absorption for Women Over 40
Vitamin B12 isn’t the only nutrient that relies on the digestive tract to be absorbed by the body. Iron is absorbed in the duodenum, a part of the small intestine of the digestive tract. When iron is consumed, it enters the stomach where it mixes with stomach acid, ultimately undergoing a chemical change into a form that makes it more absorbable later during digestion.11 Remember, stomach acid decreases as we age, making it more challenging to absorb optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron.‡
Our Pure Encapsulations® OptiFerin-C provides 28 mg of elemental iron with 100 mg of vitamin C to help absorb iron. The RDA of iron for women ages 19-50 years is 18 mg daily. This number increases to 27 mg if you’re pregnant and decreases to 9 mg if you’re lactating.12‡
It’s important older women get adequate amounts of iron because iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, a red blood cell protein that helps transport oxygen from the lungs to the body.13 Humans typically lose small amounts of iron via natural processes such as bowel movements, urination and even during digestion in the gastrointestinal tract and even through the skin. Not to mention, iron losses are more significant for women who are menstruating.13, 14, 15
Some of the richest sources of iron include meat and seafood. Nuts, beans, veggies and fortified grains are also great natural sources of iron.16
Why DIM Matters for Women
Let’s not limit the conversation to vitamins and minerals. A healthy diet provides phytonutrients from the fruits and vegetables we eat. In women, phytonutrients play important roles in detoxification and healthy aging. These aren’t “essential nutrients,” but they have unique health benefits.
A great example is DIM, or diindolylmethane, a compound made in the body after consuming cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower. DIM may be helpful to women because it promotes healthy estrogen metabolism. Estrogen metabolism is a detoxifying process that helps eliminate certain estrogen forms that the body doesn’t need. The liver’s job is to help it be excreted from the body through urine and stool. ‡
This type of liver detox is broken down into two phases. In simple terms, phase I converts estrogens into reactive metabolites, and phase II makes the metabolites less reactive and more water soluble, allowing excretion via the kidneys and bowels. DIM works mostly by supporting phase II detoxification of estrogens.‡
Our DIM Detox contains 100 mg of DIM as BioResponse® DIM to help promote estrogen metabolism and cell activity. A clinical study involving 52 women found that BioResponse DIM also supported cervical cell health.16 DIM Detox also contains lignans for cellular, heart, breast, bone and cognitive health. We also offer a more straightforward option with just DIM. Pure Encapsulations® DIMPRO provides 100 mg of DIM as BioResponse® DIM.‡
So, if your diet is low on those cruciferous veggies, DIM may be a valuable addition to your wellness journey. ‡
A Women’s Journey
Aging shouldn’t be hard. That is why we help provide essential nutrients to help you stay on the healthiest side of your wellness journey. If you feel like you could use extra support, especially as you encounter new challenges associated with natural aging, check out our Pure Encapsulations® Women's Formulas for unique formulations designed specifically to help you in each stage of a woman’s life cycle.‡
- Harvard T.H. Chan. (2021, May 26). Collagen. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
- National Institute on Aging. (2021, January 2). Vitamins and Minerals for Older Adults. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals-older-adults
- Office of Dietary Supplements - Calcium. Ods.od.nih.gov. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/#en1
- Cooper, D., et al. (2021). Biochemistry, Calcium Channels. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562198/
- Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011
- Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011. &
- Heaney RP. Calcium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. London and New York: Informa Healthcare; 2010:101-6.
- Dawson-Hughes B, et al. N Engl J Med. 1997 Sep 4;337(10):670-6)
- Mayo Clinic. (2021, July 17). Vitamin B-12. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b12/art-20363663
- John Hopkins Medicine. (2021). . Www.hopkinsmedicine.org. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/vitamin-b12-deficiency-anemia
- Absorption |. Retrieved August 24, 2023, from https://irondisorders.org/absorption-2/
- National Institutes of Health. (2022, April 5). Office of Dietary Supplements - Iron. Nih.gov. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional
- Wessling-Resnick M. Iron. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler RG, eds.. 11th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014:176-88
- Aggett PJ. Iron. In: Erdman JW, Macdonald IA, Zeisel SH, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012:506-20.
- Drakesmith H, Prentice AM. Science 2012;338:768-72.
- Del Priore G, et al. Gynecol Oncol. 2010 Mar;116(3):464-7.