You may not think of fiber as a nutrient you need a supplement for, but getting adequate amounts of fiber—whether through your diet or a vitamin—is imperative for good health. A study on the benefits of fiber by the University of Minnesota showed that a diet rich in fiber can lower the risk of heart disease, help with weight management, and boost gut health. The Journal of the American Medical Association did a study specifically targeting the correlation between fiber and cardiovascular health in women and similarly came to the conclusion that a high-fiber diet can help prevent coronary heart disease in women.
For women who follow a vegan diet, a vitamin B12 supplement may prove particularly useful as it's found primarily in animal products. While vegetarians can get vitamin B12 from yogurt, milk, cheese, and other dairy products, the presence of the vitamin is scarce in plant-based foods. A study by medical journal The Lancet shows that vitamin B12, along with folic acid, could lower the risk of vascular disease in both men and women.
Bone health is a particularly important area for women to pay attention to due to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Traditionally doctors would recommend calcium supplements, but studies have linked an excess of calcium to heart disease. Instead, recent studies show a preference for vitamin K2 in promoting bone density. Additionally, a study by the University of Maryland also found that individuals with higher levels of K2 had greater bone density and that the vitamin could help fight against osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Vitamin D is a tricky supplement to source. The easiest way to gather vitamin D is through sun exposure. Although trace amounts can be found in fish and dairy, supplements are an easy way to ensure you're meeting the proper dosage for this vitamin. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and build bone strength, making it a particularly important vitamin for women.
Keep reading for a nutritionist's take on whether vitamins are worth taking.