Due to busy school schedules and extracurricular activities, as well as a diet that may consist mostly of fast food and sugary caffeinated drinks, many teen girls are not getting enough of the crucial vitamins and minerals their bodies need during rapid growth spurts. With this in mind, many teen girls may consider taking natural supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps in their eating. Natural supplements are vitamins, minerals, herbs and other earth matter created to support nutrition. Before taking any supplements, it is important to talk with a doctor. Here are the top natural supplements for teen girls.
Iron: Transports Oxygen Throughout Blood
Teen girls who do not already eat an iron-rich diet may suffer from iron-deficiency once they start menstruating. Individuals with low iron may consistently feel lethargic due to low oxygen circulating throughout the blood. This fatigue can cloud brain function and lessen the body's immune system needed for fighting off illness and infections. Iron also keeps cells healthy, such as those for hair, skin and nails. Some iron-rich foods include spinach, red meats, poultry and egg yolks. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for iron is 15 milligrams per day for girls ages 14 to 18.
Folic Acid (Folate): Cell Growth and Metabolism
Folate, a B-Vitamin, is the natural version found in foods. Folic acid is the man-made version in supplements, which is added to foods. They do the same thing. Folic acid is used to treat deficiencies that can cause anemia, and it is highly recommended when a woman becomes pregnant since it helps prevents birth defects. Some folic-acid rich foods include leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce; bananas and melons; and some enriched foods such as breads and cereals. The RDA for girls 14-18 is 400 micrograms; and 600 micrograms for pregnant women.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Normal Development and Growth
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for cognitive development as well as for lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Because the human body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, we must get them from our diet. There are several types of omega-3s. According to WebMD, there are the fish oils, which contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). There are also the plant sources with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is converted into omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Some foods with omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fish, like mackerel, tuna and salmon; flaxseed and canola oils; soybeans and tofu; and walnuts. Dosing recommendations should be discussed with a doctor.
Calcium and Vitamin D: Strong Teeth and Bones
Almost half of all skeletal growth happens during the teen years and calcium is required to help make those bones grow long and strong and it helps make durable teeth. From ages 9-18, the body needs about 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily, about the amount in a 32-ounce glass of milk. It's companion, Vitamin D, encourages calcium absorption in the body. It's recommended that teen girls take in 15 micrograms of Vitamin D daily.