International Women's Day

Women: a force for supplement marketers to reckon with

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Folic acid, Vitamin

Women are an important consumer group for the supplements market -
not only because of their own, specific health needs, but also
because they tend to make most of the purchasing decisions for the

In addition to looking out for products designed for them, women are also likely to scour for products that meet the nutritional needs of their children and partner. (While some men do, of course, buy supplements for themselves, in general women tend to pay more attention to preventative health care, and visit the doctor more regularly). The evolution of the multivitamin market into consumer group-specific has helped spur growth for an otherwise mature category. Female consumers tend to fall into sub-groups depending on their nutritional needs at a given stage in their lives. The teenage years are crucial for attaining bone mass density, so the bone health trinity of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K (the latter tow aiding absorption) is important. Teenagers are also prone to mood swings (especially as they start to menstruation) for which B vitamins may be helpful. Zinc, vitamin A, chromium, and vitamin B6, vitamin E and zinc have shown promise in helping to address problem skin, especially teenage acne. Pregnant women or those planning a pregnancy need to pay particular attention to their folic acid intake, since the B vitamin has been strongly linked to reduced incidence of neural tube defects in infants. Indeed, it is recommended that all women who may one day become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Research is also stacking up on the importance of adequate consumption of omega-3 fatty acids throughout pregnancy, with indications that they can help boost a child's early learning and development capabilities. Peri-menopausal women are likely to be interested in bioactives that might help control menopause symptoms, such as hot flushes. Phytoestrogens, from soy, for example, are popular with many who prefer to avoid hormone replacement therapy. The herbal black cohosh has long been reported to help with hot flushes. However fears over a possible rare link with liver disease have led to the introduction of warning labels in some markets. The over-50s also need to pay attention to bone health, since the majority of osteoporosis fractures occur in women. In addition, it is a common misconception that men are most at danger from heart disease. In fact, there is a stark increase in heart disease amongst women when they enter their senior years. In addition to addressing other factors such as diet and exercise, women may benefit from ingredients researched for heart health Finally, women of any age tend to pay considerable attention to their appearance. The relatively new category known as nutricosmetics - that is, oral products intended to boost outward appearance - such as those containing antioxidants - tend to have a strong female following.

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