Food supplements: women in every phase of life

Active at every stage of life: Focus on Women

Active at every stage of life: Focus on Women

Magazin Artikel Frau im Fokus | Goerlich Pharma

Magazin Artikel Frau im Fokus | Goerlich Pharma
Women and men are now equal in many areas [1]. Nevertheless, women have different strengths, experiences, circumstances and visions and also experience changes in the different phases of life. A possible desire to have children, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause demand a different lifestyle and diet and have specific nutrient requirements [2]. But even in everyday life, when it comes to organizing work, family and the household, a healthy body and a positive mindset are essential. As a result, the interest in women’s health has been growing steadily. In 2021, the dietary supplement market reported an average growth of + 17% [3]. The following article looks at the different phases of a woman’s life in more detail.

Kinderwunsch, Schwangerschaft & Stillzeit

Planning to have children

Women planning to have children should pay attention to a few things. For example, it may be advisable to provide the body with ideal conditions for a pregnancy. Healthy eating and exercise as well as patience and joy of life should of course be part of this phase. Similarly, negative triggers, such as smoking or drinking alcohol, should be eliminated when trying to conceive. [4] Additionally, food supplements can provide specific nutrients during this time. In particular, folic acid, also known as vitamin H/B9, should be taken before pregnancy to reduce the risk of malformations, such as the neural tube defect in the growing fetus. The German Society of Nutrition (DGE) recommends an additional daily intake of 400 µg folate (folic acid) for any woman who wishes to have children. In addition, vitamin D and iodine are usually recommended, as they are equally essential for the body. Folate and vitamin D also have a function in cell division, which is an authorized health claim. [5,6,7]

Pregnancy

With successful fertilization and implantation into the endometrium, the need for vitamins & minerals for the body of the expectant mother increases. The extra demand can be compensated by foods with a high nutrient density. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and dairy products. [8]
One of the most important vitamins for women planning to have a baby, for pregnant and breastfeeding women is folic acid or folate. It takes on critical functions in cell division and growth processes in the body and is involved in numerous metabolic processes. To support the increased need for folic acid, foods rich in folate such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli and whole grains are beneficial. The D-A-CH societies (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) for nutrition recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women supplement their daily diet with 400 µg folic acid. A lack of folate during pregnancy can have an extremely negative effect on the development of the fetus and can lead to a low birth weight or increase the risk of a miscarriage. Folate supplementation also reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the unborn child.
Another important part of the diet during pregnancy is iodine. Iodine is an essential trace element maintaining many important body functions and which must be supplied via the diet. The thyroid gland needs the mineral mainly for the build-up of thyroid hormones. These are crucial for the growth and development of the nervous system, musculature and internal organs of the child. They also regulate crucial processes in metabolism, even before birth. Intake recommendations depend, for example, on age, gender, and state of health. The thyroid gland of the fetus matures only in the 18th – 20th week of pregnancy and is therefore depending on the supply from the mother. The German Society of Nutrition (DGE) recommends a total daily intake of 230 – 260 µg iodine for pregnant and breastfeeding women, with 100 – 150 µg taken in capsule or tablet form. [6]
In addition to folic acid, iodine and vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids also play a crucial role in pregnancy. Omega 3 fatty acids cannot be made by the body itself and need to be supplied through food or supplements. The intake of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega 3 from vegetable oils or the consumption of cold water fish, is crucial in the last trimester of pregnancy. During this phase, long-chain fatty acids, especially arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (AA, DHA) are stored in the brain of the fetus. The DHA status of the mother is significant here, as DHA can affect the structure and function of the brain and eyes of the fetus. Also, the duration of pregnancy can be influenced by the formation of hormone-like substances from the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The recommendation of DHA intake for pregnant women is at least 200 mg DHA per day. The exact fatty acid status can be determined at the beginning by the Omega 3 Index as a blood test to prevent a deficiency. Goerlich Pharma offers a wide range of marine and vegan Omega 3 capsules in the desired private label packaging.
Additional vitamins that can be taken if needed, including vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A and vitamin E as well as the minerals calcium, iron and zinc. [9]
For this purpose, Goerlich Pharma developed a new basic formulation: A pregnancy capsule containing valuable micronutrients such as iodine, folic acid, vitamin D, B12, magnesium, zinc, and choline. The capsule is vegan and can be customized with other vitamins, minerals or trend ingredients to a Plus product. In combination with Omega 3 products containing algae or fish oil, customer-specific product concepts for pregnancy can be offered.

Breastfeeding

The amount of breast milk depends, among other things, on the mother’s diet and lifestyle. More attention should be paid to a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The length of time the baby is breastfed depends on the individual situation and can range from three months to one year and more. [10] An additional energy intake of 635 kcal daily is recommended in the first four months of lactation, as the need for vitamins and minerals can be higher than during pregnancy. A daily calcium intake of 1000 mg and iron intake of 20 mg per day is advised during the first four to six months of breastfeeding. In addition, the need for iodine increases to approx. 260 µg daily. [9] A blood test is also recommended here in order to prevent deficiencies and to specifically provide support with supplements.

Female Cycle

A woman’s cycle is a real miracle of nature and changes steadily from birth to first menstruation and possible pregnancy to menopause. At birth, the ovaries already contain the entire supply of eggs for the later life of a woman. Egg cells are enclosed in small bubbles, so-called follicles. At puberty, a part of the hormones will maturate the 1st follicle and release an egg cell into the uterus. In addition, hormones control the body temperature and the menstrual cycle by triggering ovulation once a month. [11] If the egg is not fertilized subsequently, it dies and is excreted as menstrual period along with the top layer of the endometrium. On average, approximately 20 to 60 milliliters of blood are lost per menstrual period. During this time, iron supplements can be used to support the body and ensure iron supply. [11, 12] Goerlich Pharma offers, for example, an iron acerola stick in the flavors of raspberry or blackcurrants delivering 14 mg iron and 80 mg vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body to achieve better and higher iron absorption as well as many other EFSA-approved health claims. Additionally, health claims have been authorized for iron. It contributes to normal oxygen transport in the body, as well as to the normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Beyond that, magnesium can help to relax the muscles when suffering from menstrual cramps. Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function and the function of the nervous system. Goerlich Pharma offers a magnesium stick with 375 mg magnesium as a basic formulation, which can be customized with additional vitamins or minerals. The stick formulations are also available in capsule or tablet form.

The middle years: Balance in everyday life

Magazin Artikel Frau Multitasking | Goerlich Pharma

Women still do 80% of care work, and often juggle between different roles: They are employed, responsible for taking care of the children and the household. They are partners, caregivers and managing the tasks of everyday life [24]. In 2022, around 75% of mothers are employed [13]. Organizational talent, resilience and good physical and mental health are the prerequisites to maintain this balance in everyday life. Moreover, there often is not enough time left for hobbies or sports as compensation to the daily tasks.
Children, pets and household chores also need to be taken care of when you feel sick and the energy level is low. A strong immune system is required to avoid getting sick. Exercise, a balanced diet and enough sleep are essential to strengthen the immune system. Various vitamins and minerals can also contribute to the normal function of our immune system. For example, the EFSA has approved corresponding health claims for copper, folic acid, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamin A, B12, B6, C and D [14]. Because most of our immune system is in the gut, it is also important to maintain good bowel health [15]. Pre-, pro-, and postbiotics can help in this area. Goerlich Pharma offers a probiotic mixture in the form of capsules and as a direct stick, as well as a direct stick with beta-glucan from the walls of yeast cells.
In addition to physical health, mental health also plays a major role in meeting all the challenges in the everyday life of a modern woman. Mental strength is required in particular during phases with unplanned, unexpected and short-term changes, such as restrictions on child care, overtime on the job, etc. Here too, the EFSA has approved health claims for numerous vitamins and minerals [16]. In addition, there are indications that adaptogens can increase the body’s resistance to stress. [17] The herbal adaptogen Rhodiola can be found in the Anti-Stress capsule of Goerlich Pharma. Other basic formulations include the vitamin B complex capsule, the magnesium direct stick and the duo-magnesium capsule.
The daily routine of a working mother might look like this: Getting up – Caring for pets – Making lunch/snack(s) – Waking up child(ren) – Getting everyone ready and out of the house – Working – Picking up child(ren) – Shopping – Taking care of the household – Cooking – Eating dinner – Cleaning up – Family time – Going to sleep – the day is usually filled with a variety of tasks from morning to evening. In order for the body to have sufficient energy and strength, a normal energy metabolism is necessary. Biotin, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B12, B6 and C may help, which was confirmed by the EFSA with the approval of a corresponding health claim. However, if you feel tired or exhausted, folic acid, iron, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, vitamin B12, V6 and C can help to reduce this feeling. [14] Here it is possible to select from several basic formuliations containing B vitamins, magnesium or iron.
Often underestimated, but very important is, of course, finding or creating enough time to look after yourself. For some this is reading a good book, spending time with friends, playing sports or going to the hairdresser or a cosmetician. If there is a lack of time due to a fully packed daily scedule, “beauty from the inside” is the keyword. Goerlich Pharma’s skin-hair-nails capsule contains ingredients that can help maintain normal skin, hair and nails, or normal skin and hair pigmentation.

Magazin Artikel Frau im Ruhestand | Goerlich Pharma

Menopause/climacteric period

Menopause refers to the period of hormonal changes at the end of the fertile life phase of a woman. The concentration of female sex hormones decreases, resulting in the loss of the period at the end of menopause and thus no natural pregnancy being possible any longer. The beginning, duration and course of this period of life vary in each woman, but at the age of 52, about half of all women have had their last menstrual period. The appearance and severity of menopause symptoms vary just as much. These include hot flashes, sweating, sleep disturbances, dryness of the mucous membranes, e.g. in the urogenital area, mood swings, weight gain and memory problems. [18.19] In addition, the risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause is approximately twice as high as in men due to the lowering of estrogen levels. [20.21]
In order to maintain the usual quality of life in this phase of life, there are different approaches to treat the symptoms, depending on their severity. This can range from general measures to hormone replacement therapy. However, the latter is disputed due to possible serious side effects (e.g. increased risk of breast or uterine cancer and increased risk of blood clots) and is only prescribed by doctors to women with severe complaints.
However, general measures such as relaxation exercises, exercising outdoors, targeted strength training and a healthy diet and lifestyle can actively combat some of the unwanted symptoms. Exercise can have a positive effect on our mood, help with weight loss, and counteract age-related muscle loss. If the exercise takes place outside, the body’s own vitamin D production is stimulated. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium through the intestines and the incorporation of the mineral in the bones. This prevents a decrease in bone density and osteoporosis. If the vitamin D level is low, supplementation can be useful. Targeted strength training can also stimulate bone formation. [21]
In addition to the above-mentioned menopause symptoms, the decrease in estrogen levels can often also be felt in the joints. Blood circulation to muscles and joints is reduced, collagen production and the amount of joint fluid decrease and the joint cartilage becomes thinner. In addition, with age and also due to the lack of estrogen, the skin becomes thinner, dryer, less elastic and more prone to injury. [18] An adequate supply of vitamin C can support the function of the joints and the skin. The vitamin contributes to normal collagen formation, which is responsible for the normal functioning of bones, cartilage and skin. [22]. Goerlich Pharma can offer a collagen stick for dissolving in water as a basic formulation.

Outlook for Probiotics

A future topic, which is becoming increasingly important in women’s health, are probiotics. The interest in finding solutions to women’s health problems is increasing the demand for natural ingredients such as probiotics. Benefits include specific applications of bacteria that offer a natural, over-the-counter and easily ingestible alternative without side effects to women’s health. From puberty to menopause, there are characteristic probiotics for every woman at every stage of life that can affect the intestinal or vaginal microbiota. The balance of the microflora is a key factor in supporting health, is increasingly recognized and supported by studies. Above all, the probiotic genus of Lactobacilli, must be mentioned here. They have shown in some studies, that they can help to find the balance of the microflora and lead to better well-being,. The Health Canada Ministry of Health approved the additional indication for the probiotic L. Plantarum Rosella that has been shown to support the health of the female intimate area. In order to be able to colonize the vaginal microflora as accurately as possible in the future, the choice of the right bacterial strain is essential. In addition to vaginal health, the most important growth areas in women’s health include urinary tract infections, pregnancy and skin health. [23]
In this area, Goerlich Pharma also offers basic formulations: the probiotic immune and probiotic gastrointestinal direct stick, as well as a probiotic capsule containing a variety of bacterial strains. Those products can be customized to a Plus product by adding other raw materials.

Authors:

Anita Käser
is Development and Project Coordinator at the Goerlich Pharma GmbH. After completing her apprenticeship as a CTA, she completed the courses of studies “Nutrition and Supply Management” (B.Sc.) and “Food Technology and Nutrition” (M.Sc.). She then worked at TÜV SÜD Product Service GmbH in product testing and at Eurofins Genomics GmbH as an assistant to the laboratory manager.

Brigitte Hicks
is Senior Manager Development at the Goerlich Pharma GmbH. After completing her apprenticeship as a dairy laboratory assistant, she studied biotechnology (Dipl.-Ing. (FH)). She has been employed at Goerlich Pharma GmbH since October 2014 and switched from quality control to the development department in September 2015.

References:

[1] https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/nachhaltigkeitspolitik/rechtliche-gleichstellung-841120
[2] https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/service/begriffe-von-a-z/f/frauengesundheit.html
[3] https://www.nutritioninsight.com/key-trends/b-life-womens/npd-in-action-womens-health.html
[4] https://www.apotheken-umschau.de/familie/kinderwunsch/schwanger-werden/schwanger-werden-das-sollten-sie-vorher-beachten-790043.html
[5] https://www.femibion.de/produkte/femibion-babyplanung#naehrwerte
[6] https://www.pharmazeutische-zeitung.de/ausgabe-362006/iod-und-folsaeure-supplementieren/
[7] https://www.femibion.de/schwangerschaft/vitamine-mineralstoffe
[8] https://www.ernaehrung.de/tipps/schwangerschaft/schwanger11.php
[9] https://fet-ev.eu/schwangerschaft-stillzeit/
[10] https://www.femibion.de/stillzeit/ernaehrung-stillen
[11] https://www.gesundheitsinformation.de/wie-funktioniert-der-weibliche-zyklus.html
[12] https://www.frauenaerzte-im-netz.de/koerper-sexualitaet/zyklus-hormone/
[13] https://www.destatis.de/DE/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2022/03/PD22_N012_12.html#:~:text=M%C3%BCtter%20in%20Deutschland%20waren%20damit,noch%20bei%2069%2C3%20%25
[14] https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/register/public/?event=search
[15] https://www.bzfe.de/ernaehrung/ernaehrungswissen/gesundheit/das-immunsystem-staerken/
[16] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32012R0432&from=DE
[17] https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/8/2861
[18] https://www.frauenaerzte-im-netz.de/koerper-sexualitaet/wechseljahre-klimakterium/
[19] https://www.msdmanuals.com/de-de/heim/gesundheitsprobleme-von-frauen/wechseljahre/wechseljahre
[20] https://www.msdmanuals.com/de-de/heim/knochen-,-gelenk-und-muskelerkrankungen/osteoporose/osteoporose
[21] https://www.apotheken-umschau.de/krankheiten-symptome/gelenks-und-knochenerkrankungen/osteoporose-risikofaktoren-diagnose-therapie-734881.html
[22] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32012R0432&from=EN
[23] https://www.nutritioninsight.com/news/probiotics-for-womens-health-no-longer-taboo-as-lallemand-projects-market-growth.html
[24] https://www.gender-mediathek.de/de/care-arbeit

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