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Learn the latest news on vitamin supplements

(NC) Women have different nutritional needs than men, and these needs change during the varied stages of life. To keep things simple, it's good to know that many vitamins and supplements are designed to meet the specific needs of each gender.

For example, Life Brand's popularDaily One is designed for women and contains extra ingredients like calcium and iron. Many women need to eat more calcium-rich foods. Those who do not get the recommended two servings of dairy per day (three if you're over 51) may be lacking calcium, a key mineral in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Life Brand offers a wide selection of multivitamin formulas for women and offers more than 20 different calcium products. To promote bone health, consider supplements with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.

New combination products can help support specific health concerns. A women's probiotic supplement from Life Brand contains cranberry and supports both digestive and urinary tract health. For healthy hair, skin and nails, look for a new combination formula that contains ingredients like selenium, biotin, lutein, vitamins E and B1, and beta carotene.

Do you want to consume more healthy essential fatty acids for heart health and cognitive function? Oily fish and flax oil are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which play a role in heart and brain health. If you're not getting two servings per week of oily fish like salmon, look for Omega-3 blends, such as an Omega 3-6-9 product.

Life changes like aging and pregnancy can impact a woman's diet and supplement needs. Consult your doctor or pharmacist to see if you might need to take a vitamin supplement. “Supplements are not meant to replace foods, but to balance a nutritious diet,” says Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Veneta Anand. “During pregnancy, for instance, your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose an appropriate supplement that contains suitable amounts of vitamins and nutrients for mom and baby.”

A folic acid supplement should be taken by healthy women who are planning to become and are pregnant. In the later stages of pregnancy, more iron is required to help produce healthy red blood cells.

Sometimes it's difficult for women to consume enough iron from foods, and most doctors recommend that pregnant women take a daily iron supplement of 30 mg to 60 mg of elemental (ferrous) iron in addition to any other prenatal vitamins. At Shoppers Drug Mart, Anand suggests a range of vitamins suitable for pre-natal and pregnancy needs, including the new Prenatal Kit and a new Algae Omega-3 Prenatal supplement.

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