A Millennial’s Guide to Supplements

A Millennial’s Guide to Supplements

If you’re a millennial, your days of cartoon-shaped vitamins are long gone. Now in your thirties and forties, you’re all grown up and require more targeted nutritional support. Why the need to level up as you age out of your twenties?

“This is in large part due to women’s hormonal and body composition changes,” explains Dr. BreAnna Guan, ND, a licensed naturopathic physician specializing in women’s hormone health. “Plus, many [millennial] women are in various stages of reproduction, from preconception to breastfeeding. Women in this life stage are also juggling career and/or home demands as well as various other responsibilities, such as caring for elderly parents and family.”

With all this going on, it’s common for millennial women to have very specific micronutrient requirements. For instance, through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childbearing, Guan says women are often depleted of essential nutrients like B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fats. Stress and the resulting excess cortisol production may contribute to elevations in inflammatory markers, oxidative stress, and thyroid and sex hormone dysfunction. “Supplementation with vitamins and minerals is a great way to boost and quickly restore nutrients needed for optimal health,” says Guan. “Supplements typically contain higher doses of nutrients than what’s found in foods and can be used when diets are insufficient to meet demands.”

Hormonal changes, reproduction, and work and family demands require specific nutritional support for millennial women.

Below are some of the most common vitamins millennial women are found lacking—and the ones you should consider addressing with supplements, particularly if you’re not getting adequate amounts of these nutrients through whole foods. Before starting any new supplement regimen, consult a physician and have appropriate labs—such as blood panels—done to determine which products are most suitable to your individual needs. And once you start taking supplements, always follow dosing instructions on product labels unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

All supplements mentioned can be found at iHerb, a leading wellness brand offering more than 30,000 health and nutrition products.

Vitamin A


California Gold Nutrition, Women’s Multivitamin Gummies, Mixed Berry and Fruit Flavors, 90 Gummies

If you’ve noticed a change in your skin’s appearance, a decline in vitamin A levels could be to blame. Guan says vitamin A demonstrates impressive anti-aging effects when applied topically as retinol or ingested as carotenoids through diet or supplements.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

There’s a whole suite of essential B vitamins—B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin)—but B6 is especially important for millennial women, due to the increased demands and stress levels accompanied by declining progesterone levels starting in your late twenties or early thirties. “Pyridoxal phosphate, the active form of B6, is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA—the feel-good and calming neurotransmitters,” says Guan. Vitamin B6, which can be found in a multivitamin or on its own, may also uplift your mood and ease PMS symptoms.

Vitamin B9 (Folate)


California Gold Nutrition, Folinic Acid, Alcohol Free, 1 fl oz (30 ml)

If pregnancy is in your future, it’s best to be prepared with another B vitamin, folate, which is essential in the early gestational stages to prevent neural tube defects. But folate’s benefits go far beyond childbearing, says Guan. Studies show it may also help reduce inflammation and regulate mood. Folate and folic acid are often discussed interchangeably because both are forms of vitamin B9; folate and its other forms like folinic acid are found naturally in many whole foods such as leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits, while folic acid is the synthetic version. The two act differently in the body, however, and Guan prefers the natural form, which is also available in supplements. “I recommend taking folate or methylfolate to bypass the step of converting folic acid into folate because one-third of the population carries an MTHFR mutation that makes this conversion and the activation of folate more difficult,” she explains.


As a key nutrient for insulin sensitivity, chromium deficiency is associated with elevated blood glucose, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy. “Women who may have a new onset of higher blood sugar readings, newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance symptoms such as fatigue after carbohydrates, or abdominal weight gain may benefit from chromium supplementation,” says Guan.

Vitamin D

California Gold Nutrition, Vitamin D3, 50 mcg (2,000 IU), 360 Fish Gelatin Softgels [Potency : 2000 IU]

California Gold Nutrition


This vitamin is actually a hormone that’s produced through exposure to the sun. Because very few foods naturally contain D, getting sufficient amounts of it can be a challenge if you spend most of your time indoors or live in more northern latitudes—which is why many people supplement it. For women in their thirties and forties, vitamin D is crucial to help maintain muscle and bone strength while estrogen levels are still abundant, as well as to promote a healthy pregnancy. Vitamin D also appears to have a positive effect on immune function. Guan recommends having your vitamin D levels tested twice a year to ensure you’re in the optimal range, and, if you’re not, taking supplements with food, ideally in the morning to help mimic light exposure.



California Gold Nutrition, Lactobif 25 Billion + Cranmax, 30 Veggie Capsules

Gut health is top of mind these days. In fact, the enteric nervous system located in the gut is nicknamed the “second brain” because it uses the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters as found in the central nervous system. “Gut health is the start of all health,” says Guan—which is why probiotics are currently one of the hottest supplement categories in America. “It greatly impacts so many things important to women’s lives and also the health of our offspring, as we pass on a lot of our microbiome.

Poor gut health often manifests in GI-related symptoms like constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, yeast infections, and acne, which may be alleviated with the help of probiotics. Since we rarely get enough of these live microorganisms from our diets, consider a probiotic supplement for general gut health or one with a specific strain that addresses your specific needs (think digestive support, urinary tract health, prenatal wellness).

Consult a physician for appropriate lab work to help you choose the right supplements.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids


California Gold Nutrition, Prenatal DHA for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers, 450 mg, 60 Fish Gelatin Softgels

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, herring, and sardines, with benefits ranging from reduced inflammation to improved heart, mental, and perinatal health. “Unfortunately, many people don’t eat the recommended 2-3 servings of fish every week, leaving them short on these healthy fats,” says registered dietitian Lauren Manaker, MS, RD, LDN.

Supplementing omega-3s via fish oil is a great way to make up for this deficiency, and Guan says doing so can help women who are experiencing perimenopause-related depression, hot flashes, anxiety, joint pain, and dry, flakey skin. Fish oil supplements are also a great way for pregnant women to get optimal doses of omega-3s—which are important to support a baby’s growing brain and neurological system—without the risk of consuming mercury-laden fish. Guan recommends keeping omega-3 products refrigerated to maintain quality, and shopping for brands that don’t add soybean or corn oils, both of which can lead to inflammation in the body.

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