written by MEGUIRE HENNES
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If you’re putting in the work when it comes to taking care of yourself and your body but are still feeling exhausted, vitamins and supplements might be the support your body is yearning for. However, identifying which vitamins you need can be difficult, especially in your 20s. As much as I loved the Flintstones multi-vitamins I took from ages three to 11 (you know the ones), those probably won’t do anything to 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 expert-recommended vitamins, but there are hundreds of vitamins advertised on TikTok, media outlets, and influencers’ pages, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused by how much you should be taking each day.
If you’ve ever googled “What vitamins should I take” and left more confused and overwhelmed than before, same. So I wanted to simplify your request for the perfect supplement routine by clarifying what we really should be taking in our 20s (because the body needs different things at different ages).
To curate the ultimate supplement selection, we talked to doctors, pharmacists, and medical professionals about which vitamins you should add to your routine. BTW, 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 off of suggestions from experts that are meant to serve as a starting point to guide you and your health care team. Read on to find out the expert-recommended supplements you should add to your morning and nighttime routine whether you’re at the beginning of your 20s or entering your 30s.
1. Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium glycinate is one of the highest trending vitamins on TikTok right now with the hashtag #magnesium holding over 535.5 million views, and turns out there’s good reason. “Magnesium glycinate helps reduce stress and anxiety, regulate bowel movements, and improve sleep,” explained Jillian Smith, a registered dietician. According to Mayo Clinic, magnesium supports muscle and nerve function as well as energy production, helping you combat the exhaustion and muscle aches that comes with being a woman in your 20s.
Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPH says to get the most out of magnesium, you should be taking 350 mg a day, preferably at night as it can help improve sleep quality. Furthermore, it can actually help with certain symptoms. “For those pounding headaches or dreadful hangovers, leave the ibuprofen and aspirin behind and reach for magnesium instead,” Dr. Rangaves recommended. In fact, if you have frequent headaches or migraines, Dr. Rangaves says this could be a sign that your body lacks magnesium (research on magnesium has confirmed it can be effective as an acute treatment option for headaches).
2. B Vitamins
There are eight different B vitamins and each one impacts the body differently, but they’re all known for increasing energy levels. If you’re concerned with energy levels, Dr. Zeeshan Afzal, MD said you should consider adding B vitamins like B3, B6, and B12 to your morning routine. “Vitamin B3 regulates your body’s serotonin and metabolism levels, possibly providing aid to those who suffer 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 B6 intake is associated with lower depression and anxiety in women, making it an ultimate vitamin for women looking to boost their moods.
Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, Ph.D. said women who are vegans or vegetarians might need to add a B12 supplement as it is usually found in animal products. “Vitamin B12 is necessary for proper nerve function 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.”
To put it frankly, people who menstruate need to be mindful about their iron intake. “While menstruating, women can lose anywhere from one to six milligrams of iron per pint of blood depending on their average flow, therefore it is necessary to facilitate the production of more iron,” Dr. Rangaves said. Not all women experience low iron, so chat with your doctor about your diet as well as testing to see if you’re getting sufficient iron from food. “Low iron can cause extreme fatigue, chest pains, frequent headaches, as well as shortness of breath, so supplementing with iron could provide relief to some women,” says Dr. Erika Aragona, a board-certified family medicine physician.
“The recommended daily dose of iron for women in their 20s is 5-10 mg a day,” Dr. Marinov recommended. “Sufficient levels of iron can improve energy levels, reduce the risk of anemia, and improve overall physical performance.” So whether you’re looking to feel more energized throughout the day or you want to see more progress between trips to the gym, consult with your doctor to see if iron could be a beneficial supplement based on your health concerns and issues.
By now, you probably already know how critical gut health is to your overall health. “Gut health is so important when it comes to having a healthy microbiome, balancing immunity (did you know our immune cells line our intestinal walls?), and helping with overall health,” Dr. Aragona said. “Probiotics can help restore good bacteria and promote a healthy system.” Similarly to iron, be aware that digesting large amounts of probiotics can have the opposite effect on the body, giving you a bacterial overgrowth. Experts say when choosing your probiotic, aim toward a colony-forming unit count of 20 billion with at least six different strains listed on the supplement facts.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is most commonly absorbed from exposure to the sun, but during those endless winter months, it can be beneficial to incorporate a vitamin D supplement into your morning medications. “Vitamin D supports an active immune system, a healthy mood, and strong bones, muscles, and teeth,” Dr. Chanté Wiegand said. When selecting vitamin D, Dr. Wiegand advised to choose a D3 supplement. “Vitamin D in the D3 form is better absorbed in the body than D2, encouraging your digestive system to consume calcium and phosphorus—building and sustaining strong bones. Also make sure your supplement has the right other nutrients because vitamin D needs additional ingredients to help the body actually absorb it. “Your vitamin D supplement should also contain vitamin K2, which helps to ensure that calcium is directed appropriately within the body to the bones, not arteries,” Dr. Wiegand recommended.
Whether you’re experiencing stress in the workplace, in social settings, or in your daily life, studies have shown that ashwagandha is a natural stress reducer capable of providing relief to women in their 20s. “Ashwagandha, an herb that has been used for centuries for its many medicinal purposes, can help with stress by managing cortisol levels,” explained Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietician and nutrition professor. “Cortisol is known as the stress hormone which is produced by the adrenal glands in response to worry.” Best says ashwagandha easily targets cortisol levels elevated due to ongoing and uncontrolled stress. Experts recommend breaking up your ashwagandha intake between two dosages (about 300 mg in the morning and 300 mg in the nighttime). Best known for reducing stress and anxiety, the herb has also been known to increase muscle strength, raise sexual function, and support heart health.
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