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Mineral nutrition for women.jpg

Mineral nutrition for the female body

With each physiological change, a woman’s nutritional needs also change to help meet the new physiological requirements.

A woman undergoes amazing and significant physiological changes throughout her lifetime. Beginning in childhood and through old age, the female body undergoes puberty, the onset of menarche and menopause. If those changes were not significant enough, there is the possibility of one or more pregnancies and lactation periods to add to the physiological changes. As might be expected with each of these physiological changes, a woman’s nutritional needs also change to help meet the new physiological requirements.

Calcium has a vital role in women’s health and is impacted not only by the physiological state of the female body, but also by diet, other nutrients and physical activity. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body with about 99%of it concentrated in the bones and in the teeth. Inadequate dietary calcium may lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture (J Bone Metab. 2016 May;23(2):55-61). Women are particularly vulnerable in many stages of their life.

Iron is another essential nutrient whose intake must be adapted to the physiological state of the female body. Iron deficiency risk increases with the onset of the female menstrual cycle. The iron losses associated with menses must be replaced through dietary consumption. Failure to do so can deplete bodily iron stores and may result in iron-deficiency anemia. When a woman is pregnant, the iron needs increase due to the physiological changes of increased tissue mass and increased needs for additional blood supply to feed the increased tissues.

This is an excerpt from the article, “Mineral nutrition needs for the physiological changes of the female body,” originally published in INSIDER’s Women’s Health digital magazine. Download the digital magazine to read the complete article.


Stephen Ashmead is a senior fellow for Balchem Corp. His area of specialty is in mineral amino acid chelates and their functions.

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