The Big 3-0

Supplements to Help Women Thrive in Their 30s

There are a range of supplements that can help women stay fit and healthy as they age. In their 20s, women need a multivitamin to fill the gaps in their diet, calcium to ensure strong bones for decades to come, vitamins C and D to bolster the immune system and B vitamins for energy, nerve health and mood. As women move into their 30s, all of those supplements are still important, but there are several others that can be added for optimal health.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is the most essential of the B vitamins for women in their 30s, especially those who plan on having children. Folate facilitates DNA replication and brain development and protects babies from spinal cord defects and premature birth. But, if you wait until after you conceive to boost your folate levels, it can be too late, as long before a positive pregnancy test, neurological cells are already reproducing to build your baby’s brain and spine. Women who someday plan to become pregnant should aim for 400 to 800 milligrams of folate per day. Folate is found in dark, leafy greens, beans, nuts, oranges and bananas. Vitamins B6 and B12 are found in highest concentration in animal proteins, so if you’re a vegetarian, supplementing is even more important.

Vitamin E

Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it protects your cells from damage by neutralizing free radicals that can weaken and break down healthy cells. It is essential for the functioning of the immune system and for healthy eyes and skin. In fact, vitamin E can help to keep your skin hydrated and protected from sun damage and can even ward off the formation of fine lines. It is difficult to overdose on food-based vitamin E, but it is possible that you aren’t getting enough. Aim for at least 15 milligrams to reduce the signs of aging and strengthen the immune system. Some excellent sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds (7.4 milligrams per ounce), almonds (6.8 milligrams per ounce) and hazelnuts (4.3 milligrams per ounce).


Because of the over-consumption of processed foods that block the absorption of magnesium and the depletion of magnesium in our soil, up to 90% of Americans are magnesium-deficient. While magnesium plays a role in the health of people of all ages, it is especially important for women. During pregnancy, magnesium helps build and repair tissue and can alleviate leg cramps. It reduces the risk of osteoporosis and the incidence of migraines. And it can naturally relieve the symptoms of PMS and regulate blood pressure. Magnesium also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body and brain relax, which can help you get better sleep. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 320 milligrams for women, but because most people only absorb 30 to 40% of the magnesium they consume, it’s a good idea to aim for more than the RDI. Foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, black beans and avocado are all high in magnesium, but if those foods don’t tantalize your taste buds, a supplement is also a good idea.


Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in women. The body needs iron to make healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. If you don’t take in enough iron, the body uses stored iron to accomplish that task. The end result is fewer red blood cells, which is known as iron-deficiency anemia. Iron is also important for energy production, wound healing and immune function. Women need more iron than men during their reproductive years, because women lose about one milligram of iron for every day of their menstrual period; women who have particularly heavy periods will lose more. Aim for at least 18 milligrams of iron per day, and 27 if you are pregnant. If you are nursing, the recommended daily intake drops to nine milligrams per day. You can achieve that goal with a multi-vitamin fortified with iron, with an iron supplement, or with foods that are high in iron. Red meat, fish and poultry contain heme iron, which is the most easily absorbed dietary form of iron. Plant sources of iron, like leafy green vegetables, whole grains and seeds, contain less absorbable non-heme iron. For this reason, women who are vegetarian should pay extra attention to their iron consumption. It is also noteworthy that the absorption of non-heme iron can be impeded by compounds in tea, coffee, chocolate and red wine.