The 6 Best Vitamins for Women to Take in Their 30s, 40s, & 50s
November 24, 2023
As a women’s health dietitian of 20 years, there are six in particular that I recommend to my female clients once they reach their third, fourth, and fifth decade of life. Get these right, and you can expand your healthspan—from bolstering immunity to preventing chronic diseases to keeping bones fracture-free.
Which Vitamins Are Important for Women As They Age?
All essential nutrients are important for women to consume as they age to fuel their bodies with macronutrients, micronutrients, and plant compounds. But certain nutrients become particularly important during each decade. Here are six in particular that require additional attention:
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant properties. It plays a crucial role in neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body, thereby protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage. This functionality is particularly essential in preventing age-related cellular deterioration and chronic diseases.
Additionally, Vitamin E contributes to immune function, DNA repair, and other metabolic processes. Common dietary sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
Why Is Vitamin E Important In Your 30s, 40s, and 50s?
Vitamin E and its antioxidant properties become increasingly important as you age. As your body grows older, it becomes more vulnerable to oxidative stress, which can pave the way for chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. Thanks to its richness in antioxidants, it serves as a protective shield in your body, neutralizing harmful free radicals and preventing them from damaging your cells.
Vitamin E's role in immune function, DNA repair, and metabolism also becomes prominent in keeping up with your body's changing needs during aging. It supports the immune system in warding off illnesses while aiding in the repair of cellular damage (1).
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a unique fat-soluble vitamin that the body produces when exposed to sunlight. It helps regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies—two essential minerals for developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin D also helps support normal immune system function and is thought to play a role in inflammation reduction. This vitamin is naturally present in very few foods such as certain oily fish, egg yolk, and fortified dairy and dairy alternatives, but can more easily be obtained through sun exposure and supplements.
Why Is Vitamin D Important In Your 30s, 40s and 50s?
As women age, the importance of vitamin D becomes increasingly evident, particularly for bone health and immune function. During menopause, women experience a decrease in estrogen levels, leading to an increase in bone loss. Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for calcium absorption in the body, which helps to slow down bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.
Moreover, vitamin D has been associated with a lower risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain types of cancer, diseases that women become more susceptible to as they age. Additionally, this vitamin plays a crucial role in boosting the immune system, thereby improving the body's resistance against illnesses (2).
3. B Vitamins
B vitamins represent a group of essential nutrients that perform a variety of roles in the body. They help convert the food we eat (namely carbs, fats, and proteins) into energy that the body can use. B vitamins also contribute to healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system.
There are several types of B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate or folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Each vitamin has unique functions but works together to maintain optimal health.
Why Are B Vitamins Important During Your 30s, 40s, and 50s?
As women age, their bodies require additional nutritional support, and B vitamins are a critical part of this equation. They aid in managing the physiological changes women experience during menopause (cue: mood swings and restlessness), for which vitamins B6 and B12 can be beneficial.
Furthermore, folate (B9) is crucial in supporting cognitive function, helping to prevent age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. This nutrient is also necessary to reduce birth defects risk, should pregnancy occur. Vitamin B12 becomes especially important since the body's ability to absorb it decreases with age, raising the risk of deficiency. This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and anemia.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, well-known for its potent antioxidant properties, is pivotal in mitigating the effects of aging. By neutralizing harmful free radicals (unstable molecules), Vitamin C helps protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage, reducing the visible signs of aging (cue: wrinkles and sagging skin). Not only that, but vitamin C also supports the production of collagen—a protein that keeps skin hydrated, hair thick, joint pain at ease, and bones, nails, and teeth strong.
Vitamin C’s photoprotective qualities take your skin health a step further. It acts as a filter against UV rays, while its anti-inflammatory properties help combat inflammation linked to age-related skin conditions (wrinkles, fine lines, reduced skin elasticity, and sagging skin). And if you have wounds that need healing, the antioxidants found in vitamin C can help with that, too.
Yet another superpower of Vitamin C is its ability to enhance iron absorption from plant sources, helping to prevent iron deficiency. And as most of us know, it bolsters immunity by strengthening the body's ability to fight off infections (the reason why we often take vitamin C when we’re sick).
Unlike most animals, humans cannot produce vitamin C and must obtain it from supplements or dietary sources like citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach.
Why Is Vitamin C Important During Your 30s, 40s, and 50s?
Vitamin C plays a significant role in women’s health in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. During your 30s, it can serve as a vital step in your skincare routine: The antioxidants help combat skin aging, while collagen production helps promote youthful, firm, hydrated skin.
As you transition into your 40s and approach menopause, hormonal changes can affect the immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses. Vitamin C can help to counteract this by supporting immunity and fending off common colds and other infections.
For women in their 50s and beyond, the risk of developing age-related diseases, such as cataracts and cardiovascular diseases, increases. Vitamin C, thanks to its antioxidant effects, contributes to the prevention of these diseases. In the realm of bone health, vitamin C holds a critical role, particularly as people age. The vitamin is vital in the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure to bones and other tissues (3).
Magnesium isn’t a vitamin (it’s a mineral). But it’s so important that it deserves a spot on this list. It plays a significant role in many bodily functions (it’s involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions!)—contributing to DNA and protein synthesis, nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood glucose control.
Magnesium also aids in maintaining the body's electrolyte balance and the structural development of bones. Available naturally in many foods, it's abundant in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Why Is Magnesium Important During Your 30s, 40s, and 50s?
Magnesium's importance spans all life stages, but it takes on specific significance during your 30s, 40s, and 50s. In these decades, the body undergoes substantial changes, and magnesium plays a crucial role in managing these transitions.
In your 30s, as metabolism begins to slow down, magnesium can aid in regulating blood glucose levels, helping to prevent the onset of metabolic disorders like diabetes. Furthermore, its role in nerve function and muscle contraction can support maintaining an active lifestyle.
In your 40s, when the risk of cardiovascular disease increases, the heart-healthy benefits of magnesium come into play. This essential mineral aids in regulating blood pressure and heart rhythm, thus promoting cardiovascular health.
During your 50s, when women enter menopause and bone density tends to decrease, magnesium's role in bone health becomes critical. Its contribution to the structural development of bones can offer protection against conditions like osteoporosis (4).
6. Collagen Peptides
When it comes to aging, collagen peptides are so influential that they’re often referred to as nature’s “fountain of youth.” Collagen peptides are a protein responsible for the strength, elasticity, and regeneration of several bodily tissues—including hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints. Growing scientific evidence suggests collagen peptides can improve skin health, reduce joint pain, and prevent bone loss (5, 6, 7).
Why Are Collagen Peptides Important During Your 30s, 40s, and 50s?
Our bodies naturally produce collagen, but as soon as you reach your mid-20s, this production begins to decline by 1% year after year. When joints start to feel creaky, skin starts to sag, and hair starts to thin, this is a telltale sign of knowing your collagen levels are low. These changes are often more noticeable as we transition into our 30s, 40s, and 50s.
During your 30s, when early signs of aging—such as wrinkles and fine lines—start appearing, collagen peptides can help maintain skin elasticity and reduce visible signs of aging.
In your 40s, as joint pain and stiffness may become more prevalent due to ongoing wear and tear, collagen peptides can support joint health and improve mobility.
When you reach your 50s and experience increased bone loss and osteoporosis risks (particularly in post-menopausal women), collagen peptides can contribute to bone strength and density.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.