GGS
14 Comments
Nov
6
2013

4 Supplements Every Woman Should Know About

(Note from GGS: Today we bring you a very special treat… an article from Dr. Spencer Nadolsky.  If you don’t know Dr. Nadolsky, you should.  He is a key team member at Examine.com, a website dedicated to bringing you the most honest, truthful, and up-to-date information about supplements.  Examine.com doesn’t sell supplements, rather it gives a completely research-backed and unbiased view of which supplements work, and which don’t, and what they’re good for.  Today, Dr. Nadolsky brings you, 4 Supplements Every Woman Should Know About. Enjoy!)

Many supplements are bogus, but Dr. Nadolsky sets the record straight on the ones you should know about.

Many supplements are bogus, but Dr. Nadolsky sets the record straight on the ones you should know about.

 

In general, supplements are unisex. Vitamin D, fish oil, etc – they tend to get marketed equally.

When it comes to supplements for men or women, men tend to get supplements for virility, fertility, testosterone, well-being, strength, cognition, and everything related to being “manly.”  For women, the targeting seems to start and end with osteoporosis and menopause.

The reality is that while most men-targeted supplements are fairly useless, there are actually quite a few supplements that would benefit women!

(Addendum from GGS: Keep in mind that supplements are just that — a supplement to your well-rounded lifestyle that should include good nutrition, intelligent training, quality sleep, proper stress management techniques and adequate sunshine.  Make sure those are in order as well.)

Here are 4, starting with the most interesting –

1. Vitex Agnus Castus (chasteberry)

Purpose: alleviating PMS Symptoms

Vitex agnus castus (chasteberry) is a supplement that that is known for one thing, and it does this one thing very well.  When taken once a day (regardless of your cycle), it significantly reduces symptoms of PMS.  The worse your symptoms are, the better it seems to work!

It’s potent, i’s reliable, and it’s safe too. VAC is perhaps the only dietary supplement with reliable evidence to support a reduction in symptoms of PMS ranging from insomnia, irritability, and anger, all the way to breast tenderness and libido fluctuations.

 

2. Maca Root

Purpose: sexual dysfunction and sexual well-being

When it comes to libido enhancers, it seems like everything is targeted to men. A surprising reason is due to research realities – it is easy to measure libido enhancement in male rats!

For women, a good option is maca root (lepidium meyenii), which has been demonstrated to enhance libido in both sexes. It is also known to be non-hormonal, and is safe. As a bonus, it appears to be safe and effective for reducing sexual dysfunction induced by antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) based on preliminary evidence.

 

3. Creatine

Purpose: Antidepressive

Creatine is known as the most popular bodybuilding supplement. It increases power output in both genders, but there may be a benefit to creatine that applies to only women.

One very well controlled study noted that while creatine itself was not antidepressive, it was able to augment the efficacy of the SSRI class of antidepressants in people who did not respond to therapy. This is the best controlled study, but previous research showed it effective in youth and adults when there appeared to be a sexual dimorphism; (ie. only female subjects benefitted from creatine supplementation).

Creatine itself is weakly antidepressive, but it is also incredibly safe (all concerns about kidney and/or liver damage are based on zero evidence).

 

4. Berberine and Inositol

Purpose: insulin resistance associated with PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can cause significant impairments to quality of life and weight loss. It is a condition where the body is insulin resistant. This causes an increase in androgens (masculine hormones), and can cause various negative issues.

PCOS is usually treated with Metformin, a pharmaceutical anti-diabetic drug that improves insulin sensitivity (and thus decreases the androgens). Berberine happens to be mostly equivalent to metformin; they have minor differences, but are comparable with regards to insulin sensitivity.

Inositol works in a different way, but in the end also also improves insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. Inositol can actually be used in conjunction with berberine.

 

While taking supplements for “general health” is usually a waste of money, targeted supplementation that tackles specific health goals can be an effective method in dealing with certain issues.

—————–

Note from GGS: Dr. Spencer Nadolsky is a bit different than most doctors – he’s a doctor who actually lifts, and he tries to get people off of pharmaceuticals and even supplements when he can!

He’s also one of the editors behind The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide, an amazing reference that lets you figure out which supplements work (and which are just a waste of your money). They’ve been doing this kind of research for almost 3 years now, and if anyone knows what works, it’s these guys.

They’ve recently expanded their team with more researchers, and to commemorate the sleepless nights the new team members are going to enjoy, they’re having a sale (oh, and it comes with lifetime updates).  You can get The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide for only $29 for the next 60 hours.  But hurry, this sale ends Friday night at midnight EST.

 

Examine Supplement Guide

 

It’s the best reference guide on supplements, backed by actual researchers and medical professionals. Get The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide Now!

 

  • Marnie

    Where can we buy these and what brands are the best? I live in Alberta, Canada

  • Cheryl

    I need need need #2 and #4, but what are the dosage recommendations?

  • Kate

    I took vitex to regulate my cycle and lengthen my literal phase when I was trying to get pregnant. It made me freaking crazy – I had never had PMS symptoms before that but I got them in spades while I was on it. Maybe it promotes regression to the mean! :-P

    • Kate

      *Luteal* phase. Damn autocorrect

    • Natcha

      It depends on the person I guess. It normalizes progesterone levels and stuff.
      Vitex shortened my cycle from 50 days to 28 days but with other lifestyle changes, my PMS went away before I started Vitex.

      PMS may be caused by estrogen dominance due to too low progesterone (due to stress) and xenoestrogens. Managing xenoestrogens may help with that.

      It’s a tricky herb, though. Even though the literatures say it is safe, it’s best to consult a (functional medicine) practitioner who knows how to work with the female cycles.

  • Natcha

    It bothers me quite a bit that this post is written in a medication mindset. Like, if you have this problem, take this supplement to help with it. These problems plague many women and it will be great to have some info about the actual causes and lifestyle changes that can help with this as well. PMS isn’t a Vitex deficiency.

    • Molly Galbraith

      Natcha,

      Thanks for commenting, and please realize.. we hear your concerns! If you’ve read other article on Girls Gone Strong, you’ll know that we are huge fans of taking care of yourself using a well-rounded and holistic approach — sound nutrition, intelligent exercise, quality sleep, proper stress management, adequate sunshine, and if necessary… high quality supplements.

      In other articles that we have written about supplements, we discuss that supplements are just that, a supplement to the rest of the components of a healthy lifestyle.

      We will add an addendum to the article making sure our readers understand that. Take care, and thanks again. ;-)

      Molly & GGS

  • Jessica

    Adding dosage recommendations to this article would be very helpful.

  • LeanDoc

    As a disclaimer, we developed our own Berberine supplement because the evidence is very good for diabetes, metS, PCOS, etc but here is an article I wrote a while back. References for dosage are available: -Dr. Karl Nadolsky http://healthy.leanerliving.com/berberine-for-pcos-treatment/

  • Mallory

    Do any of these supplements have contraindications with birth control ?

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  • Crystal Velez Wagner

    Is there a particular Creatine that should be looked at?

  • Amy

    Can one take Inositol/Berberine with Metformin?