The more you think about it, the weirder it gets.
Obviously we have reproductive differences but, beyond that, do women and men really vary that much?
Especially when it comes to science. We use rats to estimate how stuff affects us for crying out loud. We share about 50% of the same genes as fruit flies and some have argued that our societal structures are similar to that of lobsters.
When it comes to comparing one human against the other then 99.9% similarity may be an understatement because we don’t want to use more decimal places.
And yet, despite this, we find numerous claims that supplements can benefit women and men differently beyond sex-based anatomical differences.
To rub salt in the wound they are also all called vitamins for what I can only assume to be marketing or negligence. The amount of times I’ve seen calcium included in lists of vitamins for women’s health is equal parts staggering and saddening (we’ll get to why that’s wrong in a moment).
Screw “vitamin,” the most commonly misused term by far in this regard. Want to know vitamins for women? Folic acid prenatal vitamins, boom, done, that’s it.
It’s a useless question.
A much better one is this: “What supplements should I, as a woman, consider that men do not need to consider?”
And simple questions beget simple answers.
3:29 – Why are there supplements for women and what are the differences in these products?
10:00 – What supplements do you recommend for women?
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, I’m Mike Matthews. This is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for a new episode on Supplementation for Women, which is interesting because obviously men and women, we have reproductive differences. But beyond that, how much do we really. Very, especially when we’re talking about scientific differences.
I mean, we use rats to estimate how stuff affects us humans. We share about 50% of the same genes as fruit flies, and some of argued that our social structures are similar to that of lobsters. So when it comes to comparing one human against the other, 99.9% similarity actually may be an. Statement because we just don’t wanna use more decimal places.
Yet despite this, the markets for gender specific supplements are thriving. We can find all kinds of marketing claims about certain supplements that benefit women differently than men, or benefit women or men more than the other gender. And for some reason, with female supplements in particular, the ingredients that are supposed to benefit women specifically are almost always.
Vitamins. I mean, there are so many of these supplements, for example, that contain calcium specifically for women’s health, and it’s just referred to as a vitamin. Oh, how I love lazy marketers who don’t even attempt to get the most basic facts correct. Anyway. In this podcast, I’m going to answer a very simple question that many women have asked me over the years, and that is, which supplements should I as a woman consider taking that men do not need to supplement with.
Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top. Because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.
Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends, for example, and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. So that means no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dyes. Which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe, but there is good evidence to suggest that having many servings of artificial sweeteners, in particular every day for long periods of time may not be the best for your health.
So while you don’t need. Pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape. And frankly, most of them are virtually useless. There are natural ingredients that can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster. And you will find the best of them in legions products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and bars, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more.
Head over to buy legion.com/. That’s B U Y L E G I O n.com/mike. And just to show you how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order. Okay, so before we get to the specific supplements, I think women should consider taking. Let’s talk quickly about why there are supplements for women and what the differences are in these products.
And a good place to start with that is three different categories of difference. You have supplements that. Are or are not used because of differences in sex organs. And then you have supplements that are or aren’t used or indicated because of social differences or preferences. And then you have other weird stuff that has been observed in studies and that suggests men and women respond uniquely, differently to certain.
Now, the first thing you need to know though about supplementation for men and women is that most dietary supplements that are worth taking are unisex. They affect men and women in the same way, and in many cases actually they go beyond the bounds of species. Even. It doesn’t matter whether you are a human or uh, some other type of mammal, because many supplements have a very.
Purpose and the thing that they target and effect is present in most, if not all, animal cells. And that’s why animal testing is used. Of course, the animals have very similar cells to us humans, but when you start adding and subtracting organs in humans, Things change. Good luck getting benefits from a supplement that targets ovary cells, for example, if you are a dude or a supplement that specifically makes dick’s work better if you are a woman.
So that’s why the first category of difference for supplementation for men and women. Has to do with sex organs. If a supplement increases testosterone, but it requires testicles, like it increases testosterone through the testicles, for example, then of course that is not going to help somebody who doesn’t have testicles.
And then there are differences to how men and women respond to supplementation that don’t depend on organs or even any specific physiological mechanism. That we understand at least. For example, in a mixed sex study, we can find that men and women respond very differently, and we really don’t know why.
We just know that it happened. Sort of like how ketamine’s antidepressant effect in rats requires the scent of a man, of a human man, not a woman. Huh, weird, right? And similar effects can occur in studies with humans as well. Men and women sometimes just respond differently to the same thing for no apparent reason.
Of course there is reason. It’s just scientists can’t tease it out. They don’t know why just yet. But there is an observable difference and it just should be noted. And that takes us to the final category of difference between men and women, male and female supplementation, and it’s really just marketing here.
Women buy more topical creams than men. Fact, women prefer gummies more than men. Fact. Men buy more muscle building products than women, and the supplements that are being sold often do work equally well for men and women. Take creatine, for example. I sell more creatine to men than women. Because of course men are generally more concerned with muscle building than women, and many women are concerned that creatine will make them bloated, which by the way, it almost certainly will not.
That was once a problem a long time ago. But as processing methods have improved, creatine, bloating is really not a. Thing anymore, it can happen. Some people also get upset stomachs from creatine. Some people even get a little bit nauseous from creatine, but most people tolerate it just fine. No bloating, no stomach aches, no nauseousness, no side effects whatsoever.
Anyway, my point here with the marketing differences is often the supplements that are being marketed specifically to women or to men, Actually do benefit both sexes equally, or not at all, actually in the case of many supplements. But one just gets branded as a female supplement and the other a male supplement.
And as the sales rack up, those perceptions become more and more entrenched and in time they can become basically impossible to change. For example, it would require a fortune spent in advertising and marketing to rebrand. Creatine from a male supplement to a female supplement. If it could even be done at all, it probably could if somebody had enough money and enough time and could get the right message out in enough ways to enough people, enough times to begin to shift the perspective on creatine.
But again, a lot of money, a lot of time, and it still may not work, and that’s a bit of a marketing and business lesson. By the way. Trying to create trends is very hard. You better have a lot of money, time, marketing expertise and marketing firepower and trying to change a trend that’s even harder. So much so that if we are strictly talking business, which has to turn a profit and which wants to grow and which wants to succeed commercially.
It’s not even worth trying. So if you have an idea for a business or a product or a service that is just a commercial play, not to say that you are a mercenary and you have no ethics or integrity, and you’re willing to cut corners, lie sheet and steal just to make money. No, just you are looking to sell something that people want to buy and there is no greater mission.
You’re not trying to create social change or you’re not trying. People ascend Maslow’s Pyramid. You are just trying to give somebody something they want and meet or exceed their expectations. And if this idea runs counter to the major trend in the space, it is almost certainly a bad idea. It is almost certainly not going to work out well, and you will almost certainly be better served by an idea that is aligned with a major.
Now, some people would say that contrarian marketing can work really well taking contrarian positions. So contrary to, for example, the mainstream or common idea about something can get a lot of attention and can create a lot of virality, a lot of word of mouth, and can even start to create new trends.
And I. But I want to end this tangent here, so I’m not gonna go into my full thoughts on why that is true, but it’s much harder to do. It’s much harder to succeed in business that way than it is to, again, just go with the flow, find a flow that you can agree with and that you like and go with it. Anyway, let’s get back to the point, shall we and talk supplementation for women?
Starting with my first recommendation, which is the obvious one, let’s just get it out of the way. Iron. All women should consider supplementing with iron because although it is equally important for men and women, women lose iron through menstruation, whereas men do not. And that can lead to an iron deficiency and it is quite easy to become deficient in iron, which is not the case with other minerals and.
Vitamins and it is very hard, or just costly to replenish iron with a meat-based diet. So supplementation fills the niche here. Also, many women don’t like to eat meat, uh, as much as men do. That’s been my experience at least. So before we get to the fancier stuff, we start with the basics Before we get to the biceps curls, we start with the barbell squat and iron is the barbell squat of female supplements.
Okay, let’s move on to something a. Interesting and certainly more exotic. And that is Vitex Agnes Castes, otherwise known as Chased Berry. And this is a supplement that was initially used by monks to kill their sex drive. And so, yeah, that’s about it. Women should take it. That makes sense. Right. No, there have been quite a few studies on chased berry in women that show that it can drastically reduce all symptoms.
Premenstrual syndrome of pmms. It can reduce the severity or even eliminate migraines, anxiety, depression, cramps, insomnia, irritability, breast tenderness, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. There are studies on each one of those symptoms of PMs and how chased Berry can help, and the effectiveness is impress.
If we look at Chase Berry’s supplementation for three months, so spanning three cycles on average, women will see up to 50% less symptom intensity and sometimes reducing the duration as well by up to about 20%. And not all women are going to see benefits with Chase Berry, my wife for example. Didn’t enjoy any benefits whatsoever, and that is always gonna be the case with supplements in particular.
Even some drugs, you know, people don’t respond well or as well as others, but that is very true with supplements. Some supplements work really well for some people and they don’t work at all for others, and Chase Berry is one of those supplements. However, the women who benefit most from it appear to be the ones with the most pronounce and the most frequent.
Symptoms. So if a woman has a lighter period like my wife, she is less likely to benefit from Chase Berry. And as far as side effects, there are no major side effects known beyond the potential for an allergic reaction. And there are a few cases of that in the literature. It’s not common, but it can happen.
Of course, it’s not deadly or even extremely harmful. It’s just annoying. And you would know and then you would not take it. And so if you are a woman who experiences PMs every month, you are probably interested in trying chased berry. And something else to note for women who are into fitness is the lighter your periods, the fewer the symptoms you get, the less disrupted your training is.
The less disrupted your dieting is, the easier is to just stick to your plan. So that is a nice little fitness related side benefit to reducing the effects of pmm. Okay, let’s move on to the next supplement that I want to highlight for women, and that is Myo. Inositol. And this is the most common supplemental form of Inositol, which is a sugar like molecule that’s involved in maintaining cell integrity in our bodies.
And it’s not really a vitamin. But it’s similar to a vitamin in that some intake is required, and it always exists in our bodies. You could say it’s a pseudo betamin, I guess, but, uh, we usually can synthesize enough of it from other things to not have to supplement. With it directly or eat it directly.
Now, why am I recommending this for women? Well, there are a few forms of a nool and they are generally used to help reduce blood glucose levels. It doesn’t seem to work well these different forms. They do not seem to work well in type two diabetics or people with metabolic syndrome, but they do work well with polycystic.
Syndrome, P C O S, which is an ovarian condition characterized by high androgen and high glucose levels, and that can even lead to facial hair. That is one of the signs of P C O S, for example. And it should be noted that the high androgen levels seem to occur in large part due to the high glucose, which is why Metformin, for instance, is sometimes used to treat P C O S and that.
Powerful drug that lowers blood glucose levels that is usually used to treat type two diabetes. And Acetol can have similar effects in women with P C O S, and that’s why that dose is up to about four grams once per day. It has been shown in about a dozen studies to reduce the symptoms of P C O S. And so that can mean a few things.
That can mean improvements, infertility in insulin, sensitivity in hormones, specifically a reduction in androgens, and therefore a reduction in acne and hair growth. So if you’re a woman who suffers from P C O S, or if you lean in that direction, if you tend to have high blood glucose levels and high androgen levels, then you should consider trying in ino.
Supplement. And again, most inositol supplements that you’re gonna find will contain Myo Inositol, but you just wanna make sure that that’s the form that is in the supplement. Okay, moving on to the next supplement, number four, which is maka. And this refers to a plant that is in the same family as broccoli and cauliflower.
But Macca’s benefits are unique because it is currently the only dietary supplement that has been repeatedly proven effective for improving sexual health and wellbeing. Women, and in case you’re wondering, it also can have libido enhancing effects in men. But the fact that it works in women, and we know it works in women, makes it special because most of the libido enhancing stuff out there that we know works is confirmed to work in men but not women, not because.
All of those things don’t work in women per se. In some cases, what is working in men may actually work in women, but the research hasn’t been done to confirm it because men are generally more concerned with libido than women. And so the research dollars have followed that trend. So with maa, what we see in the research is in women, it reliably increases feelings of sexual desire and self-report of sexual performance.
So how much women enjoyed themselves during sex, for example. And it also does this without influencing hormones, without influencing androgen hormones or estrogen hormones. And that is the case in both men. Women. Okay. The fifth and final supplement that women should consider taking is kind of boring, like the first one, and it is just calcium.
Now, the reason why calcium is commonly recommended as a women’s health supplement is for its interactions with osteoporosis and osteopenia because during the aging process, May need more calcium than men to preserve their bones because of an increased risk of bone degradation. Now, given the uncertainty in the literature, it’s not right to say that women definitely need more calcium than men.
But I think it’s fair to say that the evidence suggests women should consider increasing their calcium intake, especially because there’s. Downside, uh, of it. And if that is true, if that hypothesis is true, the important thing you need to know is you don’t want to start increasing your calcium intake once the problem has started.
Once osteopenia begins, for example, you want to start a lot earlier than that. Like right now. So if you want to assess your daily calcium intake and see if you need to supplement with a supplement or just with more calcium rich foods. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily allowance for women aged, uh, 19 to 50 of 1000 milligrams or one gram of calcium per day.
And the upper level safe limit is 2,500 milligrams per day. And then for women aged 51 to 70, the recommended daily allowance is 1200 milligrams in the. Level limit is 2000 milligrams per day. So I’d recommend just ensuring that your intake falls in that range. And of course, you need to count the calcium that you’re getting from the foods that you eat in addition to any supplements.
And you don’t have to supplement with calcium as a supplement. You may want to quote unquote, supplement your diet with some more calcium rich.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. So those are the main five supplements I wanted to discuss specifically for women.
But let’s do a bonus round and talk about a few others. Let’s talk about omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to health, and you should be getting them from food like fatty fish or supplements like fish oil or. From a plant-based like ELA supplement is an option if you don’t wanna do fish oil, or you could do crill oil if you just want to overpay for something that is the biological equivalent of fish oil in terms of effects.
But because we’re talking specifically about women in this episode, I wanted to mention that omega-3 fatty acids, Particularly important for pregnant women. For example, studies show that eating fish while pregnant and not large amounts of fish in one study, 340 grams per week. So it’s not that much that that can produce significant.
Improvements in the kiddos, for example, it can improve their social behaviors, it can improve their motor skills, their communication skills, their social development, their iq, quite a few different benefits. And of course, if you don’t like eating fish, you can just take a fish oil supplement, which contains the omega-3 fatty acids that are in the fish that produce these results.
There are additional benefits to fish oil supplementation for women who have just given a baby, so now we’re extending beyond pregnancy. For example, studies show that maintaining adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake can help with lactation and it can help with postpartum depression. Okay, let’s move on and talk about folic acid, which is often sold as a women’s health supplement and particularly as a prenatal vitamin.
And it’s very important as a prenatal vitamin because it’s a necessary factor in preventing neural tube defects. But beyond that, there’s nothing much feminine about that. Supple. There are many B vitamin complexes out there marketed toward women, for example, sometimes as like energy boosters. And these products often play up their folic acid content as well as b12.
Maybe because veganism and vegetarianism are more common among women than men, and therefore insufficiencies and deficiencies of B12 are going to be more common. Women, then men. And if you have a woman who is not getting enough vitamin B12 in her diet and you add that in and you get her up to sufficiency, she’s probably gonna feel better.
But anyway, going back to folic acid, my point is it’s more of a prenatal vitamin than a women’s health vitamin because outside of pregnancy, It is needed by both men and women, and neither men nor women have any particular reason to supplement with more than they would get from a healthy diet. Okay.
Lastly, I want to comment on magnesium simply because it is often marketed specifically to women as important specifically for them as a women’s health supplement and. That’s not true. It’s an everybody health supplement and women don’t have a special need for magnesium. Uh, what is true though is many people do not get enough magnesium in their diets.
Maybe it hasn’t gotten so bad to be a full-blown deficiency, but many people, men and women do not get enough magnesium. For example, women are supposed to get in the mid 300 s milligrams of magnesium per. And men made 400 s. You can get more than that, especially if you are doing it through eating nutritious foods, eating nuts, eating spinach, eating beans, as opposed to taking magnesium supplements.
If you’re taking a magnesium supplement, that’s okay, but you just have to pay attention to how much you’re taking. For example, five grams is the dose that you find in many laxatives. So unless you’re trying to shit yourself, I would not recommend five grams of a magnesium powder. And if you go beyond that, you can develop magnesium toxicity.
So if you are supplementing with magnesium, just pay attention to how much you are taking anyway. If you are the curious type, take a look at your average daily magnesium intake through the foods that you eat, and you may find that you are not hitting the mid 300. Milligrams if you’re a woman or the mid 400 milligrams if you’re a man, because if you look at how much magnesium is in various foods, you’ll notice that it’s hard to find like a really good source of magnesium, vitamin C, for example.
Easy to find. You can find a good source that will give you everything you need in one serving for the entire day, whereas a really good source of magnesium maybe gives you about 15 or 20% of the RDA per serving. And so if you check out your magnesium intake and you find it to be low, I recommend you fix that, and you can fix it with food, of course, or you can fix it with supplementation.
Now, as far as individual supplements go, actual products, you have a lot of options. You can buy ingredients separately. Two companies I like for individual ingredients are now. Foods and Jro because they are relatively inexpensive and they have passed a lot of third party lab tests. I don’t think they’re cutting corners and they offer a wide variety of products.
Or you can go with supplements that contain one or more of the things we’ve talked about. I’ll plug my own here. Uh, Legion, my sports nutrition company makes a multivitamin for women that contains iron, Vitex, Agnes castes, magnesium, and calcium checks. Quite a few. Boxes as far as Maka goes, it’s in my Greens supplement genesis, if you are interested in that.
And finally, we have a No Atol, which I don’t sell. It’s not in any of my products, but Jro sells it. And again, it’s cheap and I trust Jro. And if you want to check my supplements out, just hit over to legion athletics.com and you can find everything there. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.
And if you did and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in. Because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibil. And thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.
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I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is criticism. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.
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