There are many vitamins that are imperative for women body and the need for vitamins differ in women of different age groups.
Role of Different vitamins in women
There are two types of vitamins which are water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Out of these 9 are water-soluble vitamins which are B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin), and vitamin C and 4 fat-soluble vitamins which are Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Both the vitamin group’s deficiencies can affect women’s body. Here, we define certain conditions that can cause vitamin deficiency and they are as follows:
Deficiency of Water- soluble vitamins and impact on Women’s health
Also known as thiamine. Being a potential vitamin involved in supplying energy, it helps in the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into glucose. Besides, it regulates the health of several systems such as the heart, stomach, nervous system, brain and intestines. Women who are pregnant, are on long term diuretics and have gone through bariatric surgery can lack thiamine. It is necessary for women health as it converts nutrients into energy and facilitates cellular function.
Also known as Riboflavin. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, have an eating disorder, and women in old age generally develop B2 deficiency. This vitamin helps in the growth and development of the nervous system, blood cells, skin and digestive tract lining. It is necessary for women health as it works as an antioxidant and helps in producing energy.
Vitamin B6 is available in six common forms including pyridoxal, pyridoxine (pyridoxal), pyridoxamine, and their phosphorylated forms. It facilitates in producing of energy by converting food into glucose. It helps in transmitting signals from one neuron to another by making neurotransmitters. Women with obesity and autoimmune diseases develop pyridoxine deficiency as it is imperative for macronutrient metabolism, immune function, and neurotransmitter production. Also, vitamin B6 reduces pregnancy-induced insomnia but should be consumed under a physician’s guidance.
Vitamin B7 is also known as biotin which is water-soluble and facilitates the metabolism of fats, carbohydrate and proteins. It helps in producing energy and regulating oxidative stress. Pregnant women, alcoholic women and women on medications are susceptible to develop biotin deficiency.
Deficiency of Fat-soluble vitamins and impact on Women’s health
Vitamin A is involved in different functions of the body. This includes embryonic development and reproduction, regulates bone metabolism, and maintains the health of skin, teeth and mucous membrane. Women having cystic fibrosis and specifically living in developing countries have higher chances of developing vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A helps in maintaining vision, immune function, cellular growth, and fetal development.
Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. As these minerals are necessary for controlling bone metabolism, therefore it keeps the bone strong. It helps in maintaining calcium levels, insulin production, and immune function. Women having obesity, are of old age, and are hospitalized have a greater risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. Women who have vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy have a higher risk of preeclampsia and to give birth to premature babies. During pregnancy, Vitamin D has also been associated with a greater risk of gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis.
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin is absorbed through the intestinal tract via lipids. It has beneficial antioxidant properties which protect the cells from damage. It is a rare deficiency but can occur in women having malabsorption issues. It works as an antioxidant and is required for cellular communication and immune health.
Deficiencies among different age-groups
Women of different age groups develop different vitamin deficiencies and they are as follows:
- Women of age group 19-50 years are likely to develop vitamin B6 and D deficiency.
- Women above the age of 50 years develop vitamin A, C, D, K, B12, folate, B6, B1 and B2 deficiency.
- Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding develop vitamin D deficiency.