Introducing our women’s Vitality pack!

As our bodies change with age, so do our nutritional needs. While we recommend getting nutrition from natural sources (food, water, sunlight), those sources may not always be enough.

Nutrition lays the foundation for everything we do at Gennev. That’s why all our HealthFix coaches are also Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. They can help you sleep better, stress less, hydrate, move, stretch, control menopause symptoms, all the good things.

But our health coaches also know that to be truly as healthy as you can be, you need an optimal diet. And in our busy society, full of pre-packaged, salty, sugary (but undeniably tasty) food, a healthy diet can be tough to maintain.

Dr. Wendy EllisSo at Gennev, we got to work. We asked Naturopathic Physician Dr. Wendy Ellis to formulate the most optimal pack of nutrients for women in menopause, then produce a pack that was affordable, bio-available (easily absorbed by the body), and didn’t require us to choke down a pill better sized for a horse.

It took time, a few versions, and tons of research, but Dr. Ellis created a supplement pack that is quite comprehensive, well-balanced (the nutrients enhance each other, rather than possibly reducing each other’s effectiveness), is created from the highest-quality nutrients from impeccable sources, is guaranteed to contain precisely what is says on the label, and will give you peace of mind regarding your nutrition.

That is not to say you can eat whatever you want as long as you take the Vitality pack, of course, but it does mean if you are less-than-perfect from time to time (and who isn’t?), we’ve got you covered.

In the interview below, Dr. Ellis explains the choices she made and the guidelines she consulted to create the Gennev Vitality pack.

Women’s Vitality Pack

  • 2,000IU Vitamin D3
  • 100mg Co Enzyme Q10
  • 200mg Magnesium (Citrate)
  • 600mcg B-12 (Methylcobalamin)
  • 20mg Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate B6
  • 600mcg Folate (Magnofolate)
  • 600mg N-Acetyl L-Cysteine 98.5%
  • 200IU Vitamin E Novatol
  • 300mcg Biotin
  • 2,000IU Beta Carotene
  • 500mg Turmeric
  • 200mcg Selenomethionine

 

Why did you choose these particular nutrients?

There are many known nutrient deficiencies and health conditions associated with menopause. We know that lifestyle factors play a major role in our health; however, before and during menopause, we are prone to changes in health that diet and exercise alone may not able to address completely.

In the menopausal transition, we have a significant increase in bone loss and risk of cardiovascular disease. We may have higher requirements for nutrients needed to maintain good health based on our genetics, medications we take (or have taken in the past), or lifestyle factors such as a poor diet or lack of adequate exercise.

We are also affected by our environment, and accumulated exposure over time may be impacting our health.

The nutrients included in our women’s Vitality pack are based on clinical research that outlines which nutrients are commonly needed in peri- and post-menopause as estrogen levels fall and our bodies go through the natural process of aging. Other nutrients were chosen for the benefits on overall wellness to support the immune system, improve energy, reduce joint pain, and aid with stress management.

What do the nutrients do, and what are the risks of being deficient?

Vitamin D is probably the most important nutrient for modern times. We spend a lot of time indoors being sedentary. For post-menopausal females specifically, it is necessary for bone density (to avoid osteoporosis), for the immune system, and also for blood sugar support. We also know that vitamin D is important in cancer prevention (including breast cancer), as well as overall energy.

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine We live in an increasingly polluted environment, and many health problems are associated with these chemicals in our environment. NAC is an excellent antioxidant to help offset the effects of pollution and chemical exposure. It is also great for liver support, as our livers metabolize these chemicals as well as any medications we may take. This nutrient is also very important for memory and cognition. Dementia / Alzheimer’s is significantly more common in women, and everything we can do to support our brains to reduce our risk is important.

Biotin Important for hair loss/ thinning and strong nails. Most women experience hair thinning as we age, and biotin can help offset this. Some laboratory results, including thyroid testing, can be impacted by taking biotin. It is recommended that you discontinue this medication for at least two days prior to thyroid testing.

Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) Vitamin A is a super-important vitamin for the immune system and for eye health! Our supplement pack contains beta carotene, which has a slow conversion to vitamin A, to avoid vitamin A toxicity.

Curcumin Where to start with the benefits of this powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and neuroprotective nutrient? Again, the effects of the environment on aging are significant. This nutrient is a powerful anti-oxidant that offsets the effects of our environment. Most people also have some degree of joint pain as the wear and time of time creates osteoarthritis – and curcumin is a safe and effective way to reduce joint pain. It also supports cognitive function, which is a concern for many women in menopause.

CoQ10 Fatigue is a common complaint for many women in menopause. CoQ10 is an important nutrient in mitochondrial function (mitochondria is the fuel source for our cells) and is depleted by many medications, including statins and blood pressure medications. As heart disease risk increases ten-fold with the onset of menopause, many women are on these medications. CoQ10 is important for the heart, as it improves physical performance and helps with generalized fatigue.

Pyridoxyl 5 Phosphate (B6)  B6 is very important in neurotransmitter production, mood, and stress support. It is also very important for metabolism of other nutrients in the diet. Many women have a long history of taking birth control pills, which are known to deplete B vitamins. This nutrient is important in reducing heart disease as well as dementia risk.

Magnesium This nutrient is a mineral that many people lack. It is a muscle relaxant, it helps us sleep, and it helps with constipation. It is helpful in stress and anxiety management, aids in blood sugar control, blood pressure control, bone density, and calcium utilization in the body. For some menopausal females, this can be helpful for hot flashes. This nutrient is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body! This is one of the most important nutrients for all individuals.

Folic Acid (as the most active form 5MTHFR) This nutrient may be helpful in hot flashes for some women; it is also important for treatment of depression and can be depleted by many medications, including birth control pills and anti-depressants. This nutrient is important in heart health and mood and may help reduce some cancers as well as decrease dementia / Alzheimer’s risk.

B 12 This nutrient is important in making red blood cells, supporting energy levels, and reducing heart disease. The absorption of B 12 is impacted by gastric bypass surgery, excess alcohol intake, and taking acid blocking medications long term. Vegetarians are at an increased risk of B vitamin deficiency, as this nutrient is found mainly in animal products, though some foods are fortified with B12. Although it is rare to have a true B12 deficiency, taking B12 can be helpful for mood and energy.

Vitamin E Three national surveys have found that the diets of most Americans provide less than the RDA levels of vitamin E. This nutrient is a powerful anti-oxidant and has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, support the immune system, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. As an anti-oxidant, it may reduce our risk of cancer. It is also a very important nutrient in eye health, reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataract formation. It may also be important in long-term cognitive helalth.

Selenomethionine This mineral is a powerful antioxidant, important in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection. Selenomethionine is a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions, including thyroid hormone metabolism and glutathione production, which aids in reducing oxidative stress from the environment. Because of its effects on the immune system, this mineral may play a role in the prevention of cancer and support cognitive function. Selenomethionine is the most bioavailable form of selenium.

Why are these nutrients particularly useful or necessary for women in midlife and menopause?

There are the clinical symptoms that women experience (like mood changes and hot flashes) and there are the things we cannot feel, like heart disease and bone loss. The ingredients in the women’s Vitality pack were chosen not only to help women feel better, they were also chosen to reduce the risk of health conditions commonly seen in association with menopause.

Why these doses?

Many companies will offer a very “full spectrum” women’s formula with a plethora of ingredients. However, these supplements have very little of each ingredient, thus it falls below the therapeutic dose. We cannot supplement ourselves out of a healthy diet or regular exercise, but this packet, combined with healthy lifestyle choices, focuses on helping women feel better while also addressing common health conditions associated with menopause. The doses were chosen based on my own clinical experience with these nutrients, but I also used clinical research to correlate specific doses for reducing disease.

Nutrient requirements for a 40-50 year old female are very different then the requirements for a 25-year-old male. For example, vitamin D has a recommended daily allowance of 600ius for males and females between the ages of 51-70. The RDA is defined as “the estimated amount of a nutrient per day considered necessary for the maintenance of good health by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council/ National Academy of Sciences.”

We all have different levels of absorption based on our age, sun exposure, where we live, etc. At this time in life, 600ius is often not adequate for all aspects of health, thus I chose 2000ius for this nutrient. It is a safe daily dosage, and this amount offers a better therapeutic value across the board for a number of conditions including improved mood, bone density, cancer prevention, overall energy level, as well as immune support.

Why this formulation?

The approach for this formulation was chosen based on the most common physical complaints I have observed in women 40+ in my clincal practice, while also considering the leading causes of disease in women as they approach or reach menopause. This formula also takes into consideration the research around increased nutritional demands for the peri / post-menopausal female.

You can find links to research consulted at the end of this article.

Who made them, and why did you choose them?

We formulated the women’s Vitality pack based on clinical experience and research and collaborated with a chemist who understands the importance of quality ingredients in supplements.

We follow the cGMP practices, which is a process that ensures we are getting a pure product, sourced from responsible suppliers, and contains the nutrients listed on the label. This is voluntary, and is not required by the FDA.

We want to be sure our supplements are pure and maintain their potency over time. Although it would be nice to have one capsule that covers all of our nutritional needs, all vitamins, minerals and herbs have a different molecular weight – so we need to keep the size of the nutrient in mind so the capsule count is reasonable!

Why this combination of meds?

This combination of meds was based on the nutritional and clinical needs that research and clinical experience show are the most beneficial to women as they approach and go through the menopausal transition.

Calcium was not included in this formula because it is a very large molecule, and would require a significant increase in capsule count to reach the 1200mg dose recommended by the FDA. Many women get a significant amount of calcium in the diet – and if osteoporosis is a concern, then women should consider the addition of a bone specific supplement.

Do you have advice on the best way to take them? (With food, at morning or night, same time every day, with other supplements, etc.)

Most people prefer to take supplements in the morning with food to avoid stomach upset. Food also increases acidity in the stomach, thus the absorption improves with food. Vitamin D can negatively affect sleep as well, so this packet is better taken with breakfast or lunch. If you are on thyroid medication, it’s best you avoid taking the packet within 4 hours of your thyroid dose, as some nutrients can decrease the absorption of your thyroid medication.

Any potential drug interactions?

Fish oil, CoQ10 and vitamin E should not be taken, or taken with caution with blood thinners. Ask your doctor about taking these supplements if you are on a blood thinning medication.

If you are on thyroid medication, you should avoid taking your vitamins within 4 hours of taking your thyroid meds. Minerals in this Vitality pack may reduce your absorption of your thyroid medication.

B6 may decrease the absorption of levadopa or carbidopa, medications used for Parkinson’s disease. Doses higher than 200mg may have greater impact on some medications.

B12 may interfere with a specific antibiotic called chloramphenical. Otherwise, this nutrient is considered quite safe.

Folic acid may interfere with sulfasalazine or methotrexate.

Biotin – there do not appear to be any medications that biotin interferes with, though there are some medications that may increase your need for biotin. Taking biotin may afffect some lab tests, so discontinue this two days before having labs drawn, especially thyroid labs.

NAC – should not be taken with nitroglycerin.

Curcumin – this can act as a blood thinner, and should not be taken with blood thinners. It can also interfere with the effectiveness of some acid blocking medications and can cause some medications to lower your blood sugar. Talk with your doctor if you are on any of these medications.

Vitamin A – can be toxic when taken in high doses, though when given as beta carotene, it has a slower conversion to vitamin A. If you are on verteporfin, beta carotene may reduce the effects of this medication.

Any potential side effects?

Supplements should be taken with food to avoid gastic upset. Magnesium, if taken without food, may increase the risk of diarrhea.

As mentioned, biotin may interfere with some lab results.

Is there a concern about taking a multivitamin along with these?

It really depends on the strength of the multivitamin. If a multivitamin has significant amounts of magnesium, it may increase the risk of loose stools if taken with the women’s Vitality pack. Otherwise, this should be fine taken with a multivitamin.

Are there some women who shouldn’t take these? (heart condition, thyroid, cancer, etc)

This should be safe for all women to take, unless there are drug interactions that should be considered.

Are there warning signs of overdose I should be aware of?

Although we aim to provide therapeutic doses in our Vitality pack, the doses in our pack are well below any toxicity concern.

Should I get a blood test to check my levels before taking these?

A general CBC will often provide information on needs for B12 or folate. The same goes for vitamin D. Unfortunately, there are not many reliable tests that assess for nutrient deficiency. That’s why we consider the health of the individual or increased nutritional needs in the average pre/post menopausal female based on clinical data.

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/women/lcod/2017/all-races-origins/index.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6372850/

If you take supplements, we'd love to hear more about why you made the choices you make, so let us know all about it in the Gennev Community forums.