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In honour of Women’s month, Patrick gives us the low-down on the essential nutrients that women tend to need more of than men.

Often asked if women need different amounts of nutrients to men, Patrick’s answer is “generally, no”. Everyone needs a sufficient amount of vitamins, essential fats and amino acids to keep them going day in and day out. But many women will attest to the fact that at some point during the month there is, at the very least, an increase in appetite, a fluctuation in temperature, heightened levels of impatience or irrational irritability and possibly even an insatiable craving for chocolate.

These are just some symptoms that most women think are perfectly natural and a women’s cross to bear. Whilst Patrick sympathises, he does explain that there are certain nutrients women need more of at different times of their menstrual cycle and in the peri- and post-menopausal phases can help relieve or counter the symptoms of hormonally related problems such as PMS and menopause.

So, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, according to Patrick – hoorah! Here are the essential nutrients women tend to need more of – sadly, chocolate is not one of them!

B is for better

B Vitamins – especially vitamin B6, folic acid and B12 are important both for the production of energy and stabilising moods.

B6 plays a particularly important role for women by helping to balance hormones. It has also been shown to help alleviate depression associated with PMS and may effectively reduce anxiety in older women.  Levels of Vitamin B6 are likely to be depleted in women taking the contraceptive pill as a result of the additional supply of oestrogen. Supplementing Vitamin B6 can help clear oestrogens from the liver to restore the balance of hormones in the body and avoid oestrogen overload.

C it through  

Vitamin C is something every one of us needs, but few get enough of. And later in life, women need even more to counter oestrogen deficiency resulting from menopause. A deficiency of oestrogen has been associated with increased cardiovascular risk and can reduce the elasticity of the arteries and skin leading to higher blood pressure and more wrinkles, respectively!
A bit of an all-rounder, Vitamin C also helps strengthen the immune system, assists in the production of collagen and bone formation, helps generate energy and acts as an antioxidant.

The magic of Magnesium

This under-rated nutrient quietly chugs away behind the scenes, teaming up with Zinc, to convert Vitamin B6 into its active form which your body can use. Low magnesium levels are associated with poor appetite, nausea, lethargy, mood swings and muscle cramps – sound familiar? Ensuring the body has enough magnesium has been shown to reduce water retention and improve mood. Having a low magnesium level, especially pre-menstrually, may also be a risk factor for headaches and migraines. Women suffering from PMS have been shown to have lower levels of magnesium compared to women without symptoms. Cramps are most commonly due to calcium/magnesium imbalances and can be corrected by supplementing with magnesium.

Magnesium has so many other benefits, including muscle relaxation, lowering blood pressure, preventing insomnia and generally calming emotions and promoting mood.

From A – Zinc

The mineral Zinc is an important factor in female hormone production and much needed pre-menstrually and post-menopause. Levels of Zinc tend to be lower in PMS sufferers, especially before a period. There are over 150 enzymes in the body dependent on zinc, most of which play a role in balancing hormones but most women just don’t get enough of it as it is easily depleted by stress, smoking and alcohol.

Like Magnesium, Zinc has an anti-depressant affect because of its ability to boost the production of serotonin – also known as the happy hormone.

Zinc also plays a role in promoting fertility and healthy reproduction.

The skinny on essential fats  

Essential fats, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats help the body perform a multitude of important functions. Many people have low levels of essential fats, which help keep the brain, nerves, hormones and skin healthy. Omega-3 fats, in particular, can help balance hormones to relieve PMS symptoms and menopausal problems. Through assisting in the production of serotonin in the brain and improving the efficiency of existing serotonin in the body, essential fats have been shown to reduce anxiety especially during PMS and menopause and help maintain mood and motivation.

Finding your balance

To help you deal with female-specific issues, you need a female-specific product. With its specially formulated combination of B vitamins, Magnesium and Zinc and herbal extracts, Patrick’s Female Balance is specially designed for menstrual and menopausal women.